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Ratings and Book Reviews (4 10 star ratings
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    A Fatal Flaw by Faith Martin

    A contestant in a beauty pageant dies as a result of poisoning. Suicide, accident, or murder? And when a string of cruel pranks on other contestants follows, WPC Trudy Loveday and Coroner Clement Ryder decide to look deeper. Intriguing setting and storylines! 1960 was a time when the majority of women did not “work”, but WPC Trudy Loveday is a young female in a male-dominated profession. She is humored, condescended to, mocked, and ignored by the majority of her peers and superiors, and yet she is determined that she will succeed. It is also what we would consider “a more innocent time” when people didn’t lock their doors, and didn’t look on friends, family, or neighbors with suspicion. I thought the idea of Trudy and her discomfort at being a placed undercover as part of the beauty contest was inspired. The majority of people (male or female) reading this book would be able to empathize with her situation. She is as always a feisty and intelligent individual, but at the same time unsure and self-conscious. To be thrown into a position so unfamiliar and so revealing would make anyone uncomfortable, but Trudy does it with determination and good sense.  The connection between Dr. Ryder and Trudy is interesting to watch. This being the third book in the series, their relationship has progressed over time from “boss – employee” to “mentor – protégé”. While he is cautious and considered, she is eager and inquisitive. He reins her in but at the same time encourages her creative thinking, and she makes him think more freely and truly consider other noteworthy perspectives.  While this is by no means a “thriller”, the story progresses in such a way that tension builds throughout. The subplots of sabotaging the contest, rivalry between the contestants, blackmail, and infidelity add just enough misdirection to keep the reader guessing. I was totally engrossed in the last several chapters and the foreshadowing of the outcome. It was an interesting ending which left me wanting more…so I am definitely looking forward to the next book in the series. My thanks to NetGalley and HQ Digital for the advanced reader copy made available for my review.
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    A work of beauty

    This is the third of Ryder and Loveday series by Faith Martin and a really enjoyable book. I find the Faith Martin series of books are easy to read and well researched, even to the toxicity of yew berries. It was a very intriguing plot that had me guessing until the very end who the “Picker of Yew Berries” actually was. The end was not quite what I expected but probably predictable when I reviewed the scenario in my own mind. Again, Faith Martin has undertaken some pretty good research into life in the sixties with some interesting insights, particularly about the fashion parade at a time when they were very much the norm. I particularly liked the way that the working relationship and understanding between the wily old Ryder and the young inexperienced Loveday develops through the series and continues through A Fatal Flaw. I hope the next book in the series is currently on the word processor.
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    Beauty Pageants Can Be Deadly

    The Miss Oxford Honey Beauty Pageant has been interviewing lovely ladies from near and far. When one of the leading contestants is found dead, it is thought that the young lady took her own life ... by ingesting poison. WPC Loveday gets a visit from an old friend who works for the pageant. She tells Trudy that there are scary things happening ... maybe just pranks, but maybe more serious. She also believes that the poison victim was murdered and she wants Trudy to investigate. Loveday and Coroner Ryder once again join forces to see what's what. To Trudy's embarrassment, she is to go undercover as one of the contestants. What she finds undercover is that all the contestants have a motive for getting rid of the leading contestant. The competition is fierce and most of them will do whatever it takes to win. And then there's another death ... another contestant. Another accident? Or is this, too, murder? There are plenty of suspects, motives galore, but without any solid evidence, Loveday and Ryder are going to have to dig deep and find the killer before another young woman dies. This is a terrific series ... a mystery set in the 60s in the days before smart phones and DNA evidence and CSI solving murders in 60 minutes or less. What it takes is good old fashioned police work, using brains and feet to investigate. I really enjoy the characters of Loveday and Ryder and how they interact with each other. There is humor and Ryder is always aware of Loveday's diving into murder cases with theories of all kinds. He's more a mentor to her and they have a deep respect for each other. Although third in this series, it is easily read as a stand alone. However, I do recommend starting at the beginning for your reading pleasure. Many thanks to the author / HQ Digital / Netgalley for the digital copy of this most interesting mystery. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
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    Oxford Beauty Pageant murders

    This is a lovely cozy mystery taking you back to a more gentle time of 1960. We have a beauty pageant at the local theatre where you can still find dark murder. Police Constable Trudy Loveday along with Coroner Clement Ryder would go undercover as contestant and judge and overcome a few of their own fears. These two have a good friendship investigating murder but also have secrets of their own. I was given an ARC of this book by Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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