Book review time! Today’s ARC review is for Murder by Numbers, the first in a new cosy mystery series by author Megan Mayfair. This book became available in wide release in September
Before we go on, please be aware that I received a free copy of this novel from Booksirens in exchange for providing an honest review.
Murder by Numbers – Lemon Tree Bay Mysteries Book One – Megan Mayfair
Goodreads rating: 4.39 stars / 70 ratings / 63 reviews
My overall rating:
The good news: This book hit all the required high notes for a cosy mystery, perfect for fall reading with a warm blanket and a hot beverage. There was a great plot that moved at a brisk pace, some surprising twists and turns before the end reveal, and the story was set in a location that was given some character and ambiance, making it feel like a real place to someone who has never been to Australia before.
So why am I only putting this at 2-stars, you ask? I found the development of the main characters to be really underwhelming. I mean, I could identify them and all. But there wasn’t really enough information given about the MCs to make me want to read about them. The background/secondary characters were equally as developed. It didn’t feel like a story about Clara, Lucas, and Adam – it felt like a story about the entire town and we just happened to talk to these three a lot. It was hard to connect with them in any real way or to root for them.
The book also used a lot of romance novel cliches. Like, A LOT. Lots of “hearts skipping a beat”, if you know what I mean. That, plus that lack of MC development, made it feel like Clara was very much into her man because the writer said that should happen, and not because of any chemistry or romantic/sexual connections between the two. I couldn’t figure out why Clara would be interested in either Adam or Lucas, other than the fact that it was a requirement for the story to move to the next page. Now, could you make the argument that this isn’t really a romantic suspense novel, it’s a cosy mystery and romance just happens to be there? Sure. But if you’re going to include it, then it should feel more like an intention than an accident.
So, great atmosphere, great supporting cast, a fun mystery to solve. But really lacking in the romance department and the character development for the main trio was really missing something that allowed me to connect with them as people.
I’ll read the next book in the series, but I’m not going to have high expectations for it.