Murder at the Priory Hotel
By Merryn Allingham
What it’s about?
Join Flora Steele – bookshop owner, bicycle-rider, and amateur detective – as she faces her most puzzling case yet!
Sussex, 1957: When Flora Steele and handsome crime writer Jack Carrington attend the grand re-opening of the Priory Hotel in the beautiful little village of Abbeymead, their day out is cut short when the flame-haired female singer in the band suddenly drops dead before their eyes.
Flora is stunned by the unexpected turn of events and immediately deduces foul play. Beverly Russo was a spirited young woman with a big voice and Flora is determined to get to the bottom of her untimely demise – especially as the detective sergeant leading the investigation is so hopeless. The first clue in the extraordinary case is Beverly’s missing ruby ring…
As Flora makes her enquiries, she discovers that Beverly wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea and there’s more than one person in Abbeymead who had reason to dislike her. But who had the biggest motive: Beverly’s former beau Tommy May, jealous love rival Sally Jenner, or the local doctor who seems to be up to no good…
Then one of the suspects is found dead in the woods near the Priory Hotel. The murder weapon – a musical instrument. As the investigation reaches a high note, Flora knows she must find the culprit and make them face the music before anyone else is hurt. But will Flora’s tenacity put a dangerous spotlight on both her and Jack?
What I think:
This is the fourth book in the Flora Steele Mystery Series.
Flora and Jack are back in Abbeymead. The village is excited about the opening if the Priory Hotel. Everyone has been invited to an afternoon party to celebrate with a set by band Tutti Fruiti, led by glamorous singer Beverly Russo. As the music starts Beverly drops dead.
Flora is determined to help her friend Sally save the hotel’s reputation and get to the bottom of the mystery. As Flora and Jack start to investigate it soon become clear that Beverly was talented and ambitious but not very well liked.
With the police investigation stalling Jack and Flora use their local gossip to put together the pieces. The band, their manager, and some of the villagers are all keeping secrets that link them to Beverly, but none of them seem to be big enough to warrant a murder.
This is a complex and intriguing mystery that keeps you going until the end. There’s a lot of suspects to be ruled out and a lot of secrets to be revealed.
The tension between Jack and Flora is stronger than ever. They are clearly attracted to each other and are getting to know each other well. After their adventures in Cornwall, Flora is determined to keep their relationship platonic. When you get to the end of this book you will definitely want to know what happens next.
This works as a standalone alone mystery but the series is so good I would definitely recommend reading them all and enjoying the relationships and characters as they develop.
I love Flora – running a bookshop, cycling around the village and solving crime is pretty much my dream life!
Thank you to Bookoutre for my gifted copy of Murder at the Priory Hotel and for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour.
About the author:
Merryn taught university literature for many years, and it took a while to pluck up the courage to begin writing herself. Bringing the past to life is a passion and her historical fiction includes Regency romances, wartime sagas and timeslip novels, all of which have a mystery at their heart. As the books have grown darker, it was only a matter of time before she plunged into crime with a cosy crime series set in rural Sussex against the fascinating backdrop of the 1950s.
Merryn lives in a beautiful old town in Sussex with her husband and one last cat, Bluebell. When she’s not writing, she tries to keep fit with adult ballet classes and plenty of walking.