Under the Guise of Death by Vivian Conroy #bookreview #UndertheGuiseofDeath @VivWrites @canelo_co #NetGalley

In the City of Masks, deadly secrets are about to be revealed…
While attending a lavish masked ball in Venice, retired Scotland Yard detective Jasper has a shock when, at the midnight demasqué, he spots a woman whose accidental death he investigated in England three years ago.
Even more stunned than Jasper is the woman’s husband, Lord Bantham, who has since remarried, not to mention his new wife who sees her acquired position and wealth slip away. Then there are her old friends who all seem to have known more about the ‘accident’ than they ever let on.
When the resurrected lady is found dead the next morning on one of Venice’s many bridges, the question is: who wanted Lady Bantham to die, again?


Hi and welcome to FromBelgiumWithBookLove, where today I’m thrilled to be telling you a little more about Under the Guise of Death. After A Testament to Murder and Honeymoon with Death, this is the third Murder Will Follow Mystery, but you can read them all separately and in whichever order you want: they all have an entirely different setting and cast, the only recurring character is Jasper, a former Scotland Yard inspector who is now retired and on a mission to see a little more of the world. Unfortunately for Jasper, death seems to follow the poor bloke wherever he goes!

Under the Guise of Death is quite possibly my favourite instalment in the Murder Will Follow series so far. For one, it’s set in Venice. I’ve never been, but it’s on my travel bucket list and it’s such an atmospheric setting, one that speaks (loudly!) to the imagination. Moreover, this is a double mystery! Three years ago, Lady Bantham died in a car accident in England. Today, she appears on a balcony in Venice, wearing an ostentatious red flamenco dress. Hours later, she is found stabbed to death, clutching a single red rose. Is the woman in red the real Lady Bantham, and if she is, then who was the woman who died in her car all those years ago?

My dear friend Jasper is once more at the right place at the right time. Once again it’s up to Jasper to figure out whodunnit, but this time he also has to figure out what happened three years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed Jasper’s investigations, I loved thinking along with him, trying to find the killer among a plethora of suspects and thinking about what could possibly have happened in the car crash, and trying to figure out all the reasons why.

This year I’ve been rediscovering cosy crime novels, and I have Vivian Conroy to thank for my newly rediscovered love for historical cosy crime. This series has been scratching an Agatha Christie itch I didn’t even know I had! In the midst of all my thrillers with their CSI and data science and DNA / fibre / whatever analysis, I’ve been having loads of fun going back in time, back to basics, Poirot-style, just one sleuth puzzling and putting all the pieces together with little more to go on than his own little grey cells.

Like its predecessors, Under the Guise of Death is a quick, fun, pacey read full of intrigue, well thought out and very addictive. Vivian says in her acknowledgements that she hopes that Jasper’s adventures bring her readers joy, and provide a few hours of sleuthing fun, and I have to say: they most certainly do! Highly recommended to all fans of (historical) cosy crime, and a great place to start if you’re new to the genre and want to give it a whirl.

Many thanks to NetGalley and to Canelo for sending me a NetGalley widget! All opinions are my own.

Under the Guise of Death is out on 28 November, don’t miss it!

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