Ellery Page, aspiring screenwriter, reigning Scrabble champion, and occasionally clueless owner of the Crow’s Nest mystery bookshop, is both flattered and bemused when he’s invited to the annual Marauder’s Masquerade, the biggest social event of the season in the quaint seaside village of Pirate’s Cove, Rhode Island.
Ellery doesn’t even know Mrs. Bloodworth-Ainsley—nor, it turns out does Mrs. Bloodworth-Ainsley know Ellery. But Marguerite’s son, Julian, wants to know him. Julian, handsome, rich, and engaging, is a huge mystery buff, but he’s never quite worked up the nerve to ask Ellery out.
As his relationship with Police Chief Jack Carson seems to be dead in the water, Ellery is grateful for a little flattering male attention from the village’s most eligible bachelor. But any hopes of romance hit the shoals when Julian is accused of murdering his mother’s unlikable second husband during the spooky annual ghost hunt in the old cemetery.
Murder at the Masquerade is the third book in the Secrets and Scrabble series — that follows Ellery Page, a bookstore owner and amateur sleuth who resides in the seaside village of Pirate’s Cove. Once again, Ellery is reluctantly dragged into another murder investigation — this time, at the town’s most prestigious yearly event. This time, Ellery is surprised by the attentions of Julian, the son of one of the wealthiest families in Pirate’s Cove. Paying a visit to Julian’s family crypt, they stumble across the body of Julian’s unlikeable stepfather, and Ellery is inadvertently drawn into the investigation, much to the chagrin of Police Chief Jack Carson.
Like the past two books, this was an intriguing yet lighthearted mystery populated with numerous shenanigans and quirky, oddball secondary characters. I really loved journeying along with this zany set of vibrant characters as the pieces of the puzzle slowly fit into place, and the mystery unfurled. I’ve come to love the folks of this village community, and it’s heartwarming to see them slowly begin to accept Ellery as one of their own.
Though the mystery itself is at the forefront of the story, we do see a significant step forward in Ellery’s hot and cold, push and pull romance with Police Chief Jack Carson. I look forward to future books to see where their relationship goes. But as this is a cozy mystery, there is no on-page violence, swearing, or sex, so this is the perfect story for those who don’t like their mysteries too gory or too sexy.
All in all, I found it delightfully inventive, playful, humorous and clever, with all of its creepy crypts, hidden tunnels, and over-the-top characters and situations. This tongue-in-cheek story is a treat for cozy mystery fans.
Oh, and Ellery’s lovable dog Watson, who plays a more significant part in the story this time, is the cherry on top of this fun and delightful tale.
Thank you to Netgalley for providing a review copy of this book.