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4.3 out of 5
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  • really fun historical mystery

    I like historical mysteries a lot, so I was happy to receive an ARC of Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders to read and review. And there are lots of good things to say about this book. First, although I’m not a history major, I did, once upon a time, do a major class project on England during the Blitz, and I can say that the general background depicted in this book is quite consistent with what I learned while doing my project. So although I didn’t know about all of the stuff in the book, I’m pretty comfortable assuming that the parts I didn’t know about are probably pretty accurate too, since the stuff I did know about is accurate. (If that makes sense…it’s kind of hard to word it…) And I like it when my historical mysteries turn out to be accurate. I also appreciated the well-written author’s note at the end, which provided some explanations and background as well. I also enjoyed the plot, although the murderer did turn out to be who I though it was from pretty early on. But that doesn’t necessarily spoil things – I still enjoyed watching the story develop, and watching Poppy figure out what was going on from the clues she had. (And, I could have been wrong, too…) And I liked the characters in the book, and could easily imagine them doing what they did and saying what they said. All-in-all, I really enjoyed this book. I hope the Tessa Arlen writes another book in this series, and I will keep an eye out for some sale prices on the books in her other series, which are a bit pricey for me at full price. I tend to give four stars as a default rating – for books where I liked the book, liked the writing, liked the plot - and save five stars for books that are really something rare. I debated for a long time, and wish I could give this 4 ½ stars. But in the end, given a bit of star inflation, I went with five stars, giving it the benefit of the doubt. My thanks again for the ARC, which I received from the publisher/Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review.

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  • An excellent Homefront WW2 mystery

    Poppy is a great character--all the characters were well drawn, with that perfect touch of English eccentric. There were plenty of plot twists and red-herrings. But clues were well laid. I guessed whodunnit just before the reveal. Loved descriptions of war on the Homefront and the relationship between the American Army AIR Force and the village.

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    2 person found this review helpful

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  • Debut of A Woman of WWII Mystery series

    Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders by Tessa Arlen is the first A Woman of WWII Mystery. Poppy Redfern is a spunky woman who has become the Air Raid Warden for Little Buffenden, England. She spends her daytime hours working on a novel featuring her heroine, Ilona Linthwaite and her evening patrolling the village. But then someone begins killing off the young women in the town who are dating American soldiers. Poppy believes the wrong man was arrested for the crime and so does Lt. Griff O’Neal. The two work together to get to the truth. I thought Poppy was a great character with her red hair and zest for life. I appreciated that she had a unique position as Air Raid Warden. She is more progressive than the grandparents who raised her and she currently lives with in their small village. I wish the author had taken the time to establish the other characters. I would have liked more on Griff and Poppy’s grandparents. We are introduced to a number of villagers and I found it difficult to keep them straight. The author captured the time period with rationing, homes requisitioned, lack of men, air raids, planes flying overhead, Anderson shelters and bombs dropping out of the sky. I felt like I was transported back in time with the author’s descriptive writing. I did find the pacing to be on the slow side. I wish it had a little more pep. The mystery had some good components. There are two dead women, unique murder weapons, misdirection, and a unique takedown scene. Unfortunately, the guilty party stood out like a beacon on a dark night. I would have liked a complete wrap up instead of part truth and part supposition. I also felt the book needed more action and less of Poppy thinking (about her book, the town, Griff, the case). Little Buffenden is a typical small town. Poppy has known the residents her whole life. They like to offer advice plus pump her for information. Gossip spreads rapidly in this quaint hamlet. This is a good start to a new historical mystery series. The ending gives us a glimpse of what Poppy will be up to in the next book. Poppy Redfern and the Midnight Murders is an appealing new historical cozy mystery with bomb blasts, good natured gossips, ration regulations, a hijacked house and a conniving killer.

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