As Directed (A Maggie O’Malley Mystery)
By Kathleen Valenti
Rating: 4/5 Stairs
Expected Publication: 12 March 2019
In this third adventure, Maggie O’Malley feels like she’s finally where she’s supposed to be. She’s on a path to a new career (pharmacist), engaged to her best friend (Constantine), and starting over in a new town (Hollow Pine). What could go wrong? It turns out – a lot.
Pharmacy customers are somehow being poisoned and collapsing in the store. A stalker from her past has found her in her new town. And she’s right in the middle of a cake war between her aunt and her fiancés aunt. Over the merits (or not) of buttercream frosting.
There is a lot to love about the Maggie O’Malley series, but two things stand out for me above all others: the relationship between Maggie and Constantine, and their love of movie quotes (and pop culture references). I am a movie buff myself, and it is fun to have characters use movie quotes in conversation. (Which I do ALL the time.) And Maggie and Constantine are just so darn cute. Each book I find myself rooting for them.
While characters are important in a cozy, a good mystery is (obviously) also a key element. Ms. Valenti delivers, featuring an interesting locked-room-esque mystery with many suspects. Of course, Maggie can’t just leave things to the police. Not when she herself is a possible suspect. The more Maggie uncovers, the higher the suspect list grows. Just like Maggie, I was not sure who to trust. And ultimately, I was surprised at who-dun-it.
Without getting into spoilers, I will say that As Directed does tackle some serious topics, but Maggie and Constantine inject lightness and humor throughout. Overall, As Directed is a fun mystery with many twists and turns. I’m looking forward to see what Ms. Valenti has in store for Maggie (and Constantine) in the future.
Note that right now you can get the first book in this series – Protocol – for only $1.99.
Many thanks to Henery Press and Edelweiss for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.