Monday, June 13, 2022

[Review] - A Relative Murder by Jude Deveraux

It might seem strange that I'm reviewing a Jude Deveraux novel, but I grew up with the author's books. My mother was a fan of Deveraux's historical romances and kept the books on a homemade wooden bookcase in the living room of my childhood home. After running out of new books to read - I grabbed A Knight in Shining Armor off the shelf and read it. I believe I was a nine-year-old at the time. Yeah, I was probably a bit too young to be reading romances, but that was my introduction to Jude Deveraux.  

In recent years, Jude Deveraux has ventured out of the romance genre and stepped into the world of mysteries with her Meldar Mystery series, which began with A Willing Murder in 2018. The fourth installment, A Relative Murder, was released on March 29, 2022, by MIRA. 

The series centers on a whodunnit trio, The Meldar Three - bestselling mystery novelist Sara Medlar, her realtor niece Kate, and a deceased friend's grandson, Jackson "Jack" Wyatt, who all live under one roof in Lachlan, Florida. In A Relative Murder, Kate stumbles upon a dead body twelve days after Sheriff Flynn unexpectedly leaves on vacation and swears in Jack as a temporary deputy. Yep, there's another mystery to be solved by The Medlar Three!

Reader Alert! I recommend reading the Medlar Mystery series in chronological order. There are many side-plots and characters. If you skip a book, you'll get lost in the next.  

Final Thoughts

Dare I say A Relative Murder is the weakest link in the series.

Like the previous installments, the storytelling grabbed me from the get-go. All my favorite characters are here and acting like their usual. I didn't like Kate's "daddy" issue plot, which felt too much like a bad soap opera storyline. I figured Jude Deveraux would eventually touch upon this subject, but the final result was too campy for my liking. It's like a silly Hallmark channel mystery movie.  

Don't get me wrong. A Relative Murder still has its charm. The Medlar Three (Sara, Kate, and Jack) are likable characters, and it's always fun to revisit them. The murder-mystery plot is well-written, well, at least it is for the most part. If you can get past some predictable moments and campy scenes, A Relative Murder is a decent, entertaining read. 

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