By Cathy Ace
Rating: 4/5 Stairs
Cait, her fiance Bud, and her sister Siân have traveled to Wales for Cait and Bud’s wedding. Ms. Ace doesn’t waste time and gets right down to business – by page 2 there is a dead body in the castle. Not to worry, as Mr. David Davies just took an unfortunate accidental spill down the stairs. Cait and Bud are determined not to investigate – after all, it had to have been an accident, right? – and just enjoy the few days leading up to their wedding.
Of course, when they have the opportunity to view the body, they can’t resist. And it looks like murder.
Like the first book in the series, The Corpse with the Silver Tongue, Ms. Ace has again placed Cait Morgan in a situation where she is an outsider looking in – with the exception of her fiance and her sister, who have traveled to the castle with her for the wedding. Castell Llwyd has quite the cast of characters, lead by the eccentric 92 year old matriarch Alice Cadwallader. The suspects not only know each other, but many are related and (with the exception of one) they all live under the same roof. To add to the mystique there is the legend of a lost family treasure, complete with a cryptic poem on an old dish.
The setting plays an important role in the story – an old, isolated castle an hour’s drive from the nearest town. And of course, a storm comes up washing out the bridge, thus preventing anyone from coming or going (including the local police). A perfect setting for a classic whodunit.
With the help of Bud and Siân, Cait begins diving into the family dynamics and the possibility of treasure. As the reader, I was swept up in the many clues Cait unearthed, trying to figure out how they all come together to solve the puzzle. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t figure everything out – even Cait has a small surprise in the end.
As I have stated before (look under “W. Worst Bookish Habit“), I can’t help myself and I read the last few pages of a book when I start it. (I know, I know! I shouldn’t do it, especially with mysteries. Most of the time I am not spoiled, as the author is typically wrapping things up at the end and not revealing the killer.) Anyway, of course I did that with this book, and was pleasantly surprised to find that the last chapter is not a chapter at all, but instead “Pronouncing Welsh names and words.” I found myself referring to it quite a bit as I read the book to see how to pronounce the different Welsh names and places. I also enjoyed how Ms. Ace chose to number the chapters in Welsh versus English. Like Cait Morgan, Cathy Ace is Welsh and lives in Vancouver. I really enjoyed her opportunity to highlight the Welsh language in this book.
An interesting cast of characters combined with a great classic whodunit setting makes this another fun outing with Cait Morgan.
Many thanks to TouchWood Editions for proving me with a free Advance Reading Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.