I love discovering new mystery series and new to me authors. M. B. Shaw is not a new author, but she is new to me and I was eager to check out a book that sounded like an Agatha Christie mystery.
An quirky protagonist solves crime at a country house party…..at the holidays? Yes and double yes! I was so excited to read this one, especially during the holiday season!
A picture hides a thousand lies . . . And only Iris Grey can uncover the truth
Iris Grey arrives at Mill Cottage in a picture-perfect Hampshire village, looking to escape from her crumbling marriage. She is drawn to the neighbouring Wetherby family, and is commissioned to paint a portrait of Dominic Wetherby, a celebrated crime writer.
At the Wetherby’s Christmas Eve party, the mulled wine is in full flow – but so too are tensions and rivalries among the guests. On Christmas Day, the youngest member of the Wetherby family, Lorcan, finds a body in the water. A tragic accident? Or a deadly crime?
With the snow falling, Iris enters a world of village gossip, romantic intrigue, buried secrets and murder (summary from Goodreads).
So the first thing that I thought when I put my eyes on this book, was that it was going to be a cozy mystery. The cover alone says cozy to me. But the description I had seen that some people had tagged it as crime fiction or thriller on Goodreads. For me personally I think it’s probably lands a little closer to cozy without firmly being placed in that genre. I definitely would’t call it a ‘thriller’. A simple ‘mystery’ would have been better as it borders between a couple of subgenera.
I liked reading this book but it was a little silly at times for me—-but that’s entirely ok. October and November found me jam packed with back to back reviews and by the time December 1st came up, I needed something silly and frivolous.
For me the plot was full of little side scandals that kept things interesting and moving along. Sometimes the mystery part would drag a bit but over all between the mystery and the scandals/secrets/lies, I felt like the plot made progress and held my interest.
I know a lot of authors like using the house approach when trying to solve a murder and honestly I love it too. It reminds me of the game and film Clue. It forces the reader to weigh each character and decide if they could be the murderer or if they are guilty of something else. I loved how Shaw deploys this device and I thought it worked well and kept things interesting.
Some of the descriptions were a little much for me. I think she could be a stronger writer by limiting some of her similes. I noticed one reader pointed out a couple of more colorful descriptions on Goodreads and while I wasn’t offended, I found that there might have been a better option in describing something and at times questioned the need for a lengthy description.
Overall I loved getting to know Iris. I found her quirky and fun and I would gladly read something with her again in the future. This was a nice ‘escape’ book that was easy to read and light hearted for a book about a murder. It was a fun little mystery to solve and read about and I am excited to see what comes Iris’s way in the future.
I also have a giveaway happening for this book (US only) which I will post in a second post for you to enter for a chance to win. Don’t miss out on this new cozy mystery!
Book: Murder at the Mill (Iris Grey #1) by M. B. Shaw
- Review copy provided by: Publisher/Author in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own
- Recommendation: 3.5 out of 5
- Genre: mystery, cozy mystery
- Memorable lines/quotes