Fatal Facade (An Allison Campbell Mystery)
By Wendy Tyson
Rating: 5/5 Stairs
Image Consultant Allison Campbell has a lot going on – she’s just buried her mother, she’s once again engaged to her ex-husband Jason, hoping to make it work this second time around, and she is the temporary guardian of her young niece Grace. She hesitates when offered a job with the elusive actress Elle Rose at her Castle San Pietro in the Italian Dolomite Mountains, but realizes this trip might be just what the three of them need.
Of course, this is a murder mystery, and things at the idyllic castle aren’t as relaxing as one might hope. The mysterious and accidental death of Elle’s husband Damien hangs over the castle, and the guests all seem to be hiding something. When another death similar to Damien’s occurs, Allison knows she needs to get to the bottom of things to keep her family safe.
This is the first Allison Campbell mystery that I’ve read (the fourth in the series), but I’ve had the pleasure of reading the two books in Ms. Tyson’s Greenhouse Mystery series. Fatal Facade has a very different feel from the small-town organic farm setting found in the Greenhouse Mysteries. Instead, we find our amateur sleuth in a beautiful location, but isolated and surrounded by strangers.
Ms. Tyson incorporates two of my favorite classic mystery styles into this cozy. The first is that of the secluded country house, setting Fatal Facade at a large (and isolated) castle in the beautiful Italian countryside. The second is the mystery itself – a “locked room” variety – in other words, the suspects are limited to those who were on the estate when the murder occurred.
While the cast is limited to those staying in the castle, there are more than enough suspects with motives to go around. I had a hunch as to whodunit, but there were so many possibilities it kept me guessing until the end. You don’t have to have read the previous installments to enjoy this latest book in the series. My favorite part was getting to know Allison and the other series regulars. I look forward to catching up on the first three books, and seeing what the future has in store for them!
Many thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.