Just as Drew Farthering thinks his life has calmed down some, Fleur Landis, a former girlfriend, reappears, in dire need of his help. She's married now, no longer an actress--but the lead actor in her former troupe's production of The Mikado has been murdered, and Fleur is the police's number one suspect.
Drew would rather focus on his fiancée, Madeline Parker, and their upcoming wedding, but he can't leave Fleur and her family in the lurch--even if she did break his heart once. As Drew, Nick, and Madeline begin investigating, they discover more going on behind the scenes of the theater troupe than could ever have been imagined. It seems nearly everyone had a motive, and alibis are few and far between.
Both the murder case and the presence of the beautiful, exotic Fleur put a heavy strain on Drew and Madeline's relationship. Will their still-young romance survive the pressure?
"Deering gives us an enchanting mystery set around an England country estate in the 1930s... Rules of Murder is a wonderful, inspirational novel for those of you who love a good murder mystery."--Fresh Fiction
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Murder at the Mikado
By Julianna Deering
Bethany House PublishersCopyright © 2014 DeAnna Julie Dodson
All rights reserved.
Actors," the barman muttered to no one in particular as he wiped a freshly washed glass.
The Knight and Steed was empty but for the dozen or so customers clustered around the big table in the middle of the room and two others off by themselves in the corner. From the gramophone, a quartet sang the jaunty American tune "Nobody's Sweetheart."
They all knew one another, of course. All of them came from down the street at the Tivoli. Mostly they came in late, after performances, with the rest of the theater crowd. But Mondays, when the theater was closed or when they'd had an early rehearsal, they might come in for a little something, often with friends and hangers-on.
This was one of those early days. It wasn't even five o'clock yet, a grim, blustery afternoon, and they'd only just started to drink. The large group was boisterous, chatting and laughing, sometimes roaring when one of them displayed a spark of wit. The two in the corner were huddled together, talking so low no one could have heard them even if the others had been utterly silent.
The man was well known, lead actor and owner of the Tivoli. His leading-lady wife was sitting at the large table with the others. The woman with him was a reporter for one of the local scandal sheets. As he spoke to her, his eyes gleamed with a passion that had nothing to do with love or even lust, yet it was vivid and urgent all the same.
"Not much more," he was saying when the barman brought them a second round, sherry for him and pale ale for the woman. "It's exactly what they want, you'll see. And it's got plenty of—"
He broke off, glaring until the barman hurried away. Then he and the reporter put their heads together, conspiring once more as the group at the large table called out their orders.
"Coming," the barman singsonged. "Coming."
Before he was again behind the bar, the door swung open with a jingle of the bell and a rush of November wind and then clattered shut again. A tall woman swathed in furs hurried over to the corner table.
"Fleur, darling." The actor smiled lazily and did not rise. "I didn't think we'd see you again so soon."
Seeing he was not going to take her coat, the woman removed it herself, revealing an alluring body clad in the latest fashion. She brushed a few determined snowflakes off her sleek black hair and looked pointedly at the unoccupied chair next to him.
He shrugged. "Some other time, love. I have business to attend to."
She sat anyway, ignoring the other woman at the table. "We have to talk, Johnnie. I mean it."
His wife glanced at him from the middle of the room, her expression a mix of boredom and disdainful amusement, and then she turned, laughing, to her companions again. The actor lifted his glass to her and took a sip of sherry before turning his attention back to his uninvited guest.
"You'd best get used to the idea, love. I'm absolutely going to—"
He scowled at the barman, who had brought the other table their drinks and was making a great show of not listening in, and then he dropped his voice. The conversation was again low and intense, until the lady reporter gave a shrill, mocking laugh.
The room fell silent. With a dull screech of chair legs, the newcomer sprang to her feet and snatched up her furs.
"You don't really want to do that, Johnnie." Her black eyes snapped in her pale, perfect face. "I promise you don't."
The actor merely gave her a wink and a grin. "Do pop round again, darling, when we're not so busy, eh?"
"Come on, Fleur," cried one of the men from the other table, a character actor, bald and rotund. "Have a drink with us. Leave those two to their plotting. It's all monstrously dull. Come and hear all about when I played Hamlet in Berlin. I was all of twenty-two."
"Don't be absurd," said the bored young man who played all the juvenile leads. "When you were twenty-two, Hamlet hadn't even been written."
"Yes, do join us, Fleur," the leading lady drawled over the good-natured jeering that followed his remark. She leaned back so she could pull up a chair from an empty table. "Johnnie seems to be quite done with you."
With an icy glare the other woman shrugged into her furs and stalked into the cold.
"Oh, dear." The leading lady traced one slender finger over the rim of her wineglass. "What a shame."
* * *
"Lovely as always, darling." Drew Farthering took his fiancée's hand and pressed a light kiss to the back of it. "You look a positive angel in that gown."
Madeline Parker's blue eyes sparkled, and she did a half turn, displaying the cream tulle interspersed with little satin motifs like swallows' wings. "Like it?"
"Very much. Mrs. Landis is bound to ask the name of your dressmaker."
Madeline stopped before the mirror in Farthering Place's upper hallway and smoothed her already flawless dark hair. "What's she like anyway? Have you met her?"
"No, but judging by Landis, she's comfortably forty, extremely pleasant, and absolutely respectable. I'm certain you two will get on famously."
He moved over beside her, studying the totality of the reflection. In the stately surroundings of his ancestral home, he saw a beautiful girl with a sweet face and eyes that showed more than her fair share of intelligence and good humor. Beside her was a young man who looked far happier than he deserved. Well, why shouldn't he look happy?
It was November, and the grim events of the past summer were behind them now. His company, Farlinford Processing, had survived embezzlement, fraud, and near bankruptcy, and now, under experienced management, it was recovering nicely. He had himself—through what seemed little short of a miracle—survived near death. And after a whirlwind courtship, though he couldn't help thinking her consent was because of that near death, Madeline had at last agreed to marry him. In just one month she would be forever his own. What more could he want?
She brushed an imaginary speck of dust from his shoulder and straightened his tie just a fraction of an inch.
"How are you and Plumfield getting along?" she asked.
He chuckled. "Perhaps you ought ask how he and Denny are getting along. I'm not used to having a valet, even though it has been a local scandal the past decade, but Denny has enough to do just to look after the house without having to tend to me, as well. I believe there is a silent war going on between him and Plumfield over whether I should wear gold cuff links or platinum and whether having them monogrammed is overly ostentatious."
"Oh, dear," she said, feigning horror.
"Yes, it's been frightful. I feared I would have to wear one of each, you know, just to keep the peace. But now I wonder if that might not have actually brought them to blows."
He offered her his arm and was accepted.
"Where is Aunt Ruth?" he asked as they turned to go down the sweeping stairs. "Shall we go and fetch her?"
"No need to fetch anyone, young man. I'm coming."
Ruth Jansen bustled down the hallway, always swift and purposeful, despite her cane. She wore black as she always had since she had come to Farthering Place as Madeline's chaperone, as she had since losing her fiancé just before their wedding some thirty years ago, but her gown was simple and attractive.
Drew made a slight bow. "Good evening, ma'am. You're looking quite charming this evening."
"Flatterer," she said half under her breath, yet there was a twinkle in her eye as she took his free arm. "I hope you and this Landis fellow aren't going to talk business all night."
"We'll try to keep it to a minimum, Aunt, I give you my word on it." He patted her hand. "And I promise you'll like Landis. He's a good man. He's done wonders with Farlinford already. You know I know nothing about the oil business, and he's come in as if he'd already been there twenty years. Things are improving exponentially. By the time he's been there a year he'll have saved us at least three or four times the price of his salary, I'm certain of it."
"Hard worker, is he?" she asked, eyes narrowed.
"Decidedly. But you needn't worry he'll talk business all night. He's far more likely to tell you at length about his little son."
Madeline beamed at him. "A little boy? How old?"
"Four, I believe. And a marvel unmatched in modern memory, if I've heard properly."
Madeline laughed. "Oh, I think it's too sweet. I like Mr. Landis already."
At that, the front bell rang, and Dennison crossed the foyer to the door. In another moment he came to stand at the foot of the stairs.
"Mr. and Mrs. Landis, sir."
Drew escorted Madeline and her aunt down the last few steps and into the foyer, smiling at the amiable, fortyish-looking man waiting there. Brent Landis's hand was already outstretched.
"Mr. Farthering, good evening. So good of you to have us. Afraid we're a few minutes early. I hope that's not too much of a bother."
"Heavens, no, Landis. Not at all. Good of you to come." Drew shook his hand. "Aunt Ruth, Madeline, darling, this is Brent Landis. Landis, my fiancée, Madeline Parker, and her aunt, Miss Jansen."
Landis bowed to the ladies, and Aunt Ruth gave him a serene nod.
Madeline also shook his hand. "Drew tells me you've done wonders at Farlinford already."
"It's been only four weeks, Miss Parker. Wonders take at least five." Landis chuckled and then looked around. "Now where's my wife got to? Come along, darling. You look glorious as always."
Mrs. Landis turned from the hall mirror, still patting the thick black hair that was twisted into a chignon at the nape of her neck. Her lips, as red and glistening as rubies, were pursed into a knowing little smirk, and her black eyes gleamed as she held out one slender hand.
Drew's smile faltered. "Fleur."
She dropped her chin to her white shoulder, giving him a coy glance from under her black lashes. "Surprise."
Landis looked at her, then at Drew, then at her again. "You and Mr. Farthering know each other, do you? Why didn't you tell me?"
Her smile was hardly more than a knowing quirk of her full lips. "Well, I thought it would be rather fun to surprise you both. It's been simply ages, hasn't it, Drew?"
"Rather," he replied.
No one said anything for a moment, and then there was the sound of swift footsteps on the stairs as Nick Dennison came to join them.
"I do beg your pardon, ladies and gentlemen. I had a bit of estate business to see to and couldn't get away." He slicked back his tawny hair, still damp, and looked at Drew. "Introduce me, won't you?"
"Certainly." Drew nodded stiffly. "Mr. and Mrs. Landis, this is Nick Dennison. He is taking over the managing of the estate and otherwise gets me into and out of mischief. Nick, Mr. and Mrs. Landis."
Fleur smiled at him with a pretty tilt of her head.
"Mrs. Landis." Nick obliged her with a look of somewhat-stunned recognition, and then he and Landis shook hands. "Good to meet you, Mr. Landis."
Just then the bell sounded, and as his duty as host required, Drew offered Fleur his arm. "May I, Mrs. Landis?"
She accepted, her slim hand white against his dinner jacket, and with a bow, Nick held out his arm and escorted Aunt Ruth.
"Miss Parker?" Landis said, and with an uncertain smile she took his arm and went last into the dining room.
Madeline and Drew took their places at opposite ends of the long, gleaming table, with Landis and Nick on Madeline's right and left and Fleur and Aunt Ruth on Drew's.
Drew glanced at his guests. Just as he and Nick did, Landis wore eveningwear that was absolutely correct in every respect. Fleur was wearing a beaded net gown, black to show off her pale, perfect skin, the daring bodice open to the waist in back and on both sides, and the skirt slit up high on the right. He was used to seeing women in such gowns. Bare backs and arms and sides were all the fashion these days, but Fleur ... Fleur was Fleur, and there was always something a bit bold, a bit wild about her, even when she was seated quietly at the dinner table as the soup was served.
Madeline was her near opposite, demure in creamy white tulle, the ruffled, transparent sleeves flowing like angel wings from her shoulders. He smiled across the table at her, a subtle, intimate smile just for her, and she returned it just as subtly before turning to Landis.
"How have you liked working at Farlinford, Mr. Landis? Drew tells me it was in a bad way before you came."
"Oh, it wasn't too terribly bad, Miss Parker. Certainly there were some places that needed shoring up, a few rather thorny knots to untangle, but nothing that can't be put right in time."
Drew nodded as he took a sip of mock turtle soup. "You see, darling? I soon won't be needed at Farlinford at all. Then you'll have to figure out how to keep me entertained day in and day out."
"You never go in to work as it is, and you seem to have no trouble getting into mischief all on your own," Aunt Ruth observed with a twinkle in her eye.
He laughed. "I suppose not, ma'am, but at least when I do I won't have to worry about the business going south, as well."
"Drew tells me you have a great deal of experience in the oil business, Mr. Landis," Nick said.
"About twenty years now," Landis replied. "I'd been with Anglo-Persian Oil for the past sixteen, but I thought it was time I tried something new." He glanced at Drew, a touch of sympathy in his expression. "Well, after everything that happened this past summer, I knew it would take some work to get Farlinford back running as she should, and I thought that was just the challenge I'd like to take on. I'm glad Mr. Farthering agreed to let me give it a go."
"No doubt Anglo-Persian wasn't at all pleased with me stealing you away from them," Drew said. "But all's fair, eh?"
Fleur huffed, looking only good-naturedly put out. "Must you discuss business all night, Brent? Don't you have enough of that at the office?"
Landis bowed and said, "I beg your pardon, ladies."
"Sorry," Drew added. "How about something a bit more congenial, darling?"
"Well, Mrs. Landis has told us hardly anything about herself." Madeline took a taste of her soup. "How long ago did you and Drew meet, Mrs. Landis?"
"Oh, heavens." Fleur's laugh was light and silvery. "Such ancient history. How long ago was it, Drew, love? Five years?"
"Six." He knew the word had come out more sharply than it should have, and he forced his expression into something more pleasant. "It is six, I believe. I remember because it was my first term there."
"What children we were." Fleur dipped her spoon in her bowl, toying with it. "But what lovely times we had. I so enjoyed Oxford. So pretty and so, oh, I don't know, just brimming with knowledge. One could feel it in the air, didn't you think so, Drew?"
"I know I learned a great deal there, yes."
Madeline was looking at him, trying to read his thoughts as always, and then she turned to Fleur. "Were you at the university too, Mrs. Landis?"
Again Fleur laughed. "I was with a repertory company there in the city. Light opera. Gilbert and Sullivan mostly. It was great fun."
Madeline glanced at Drew once more, but kept her attention on Fleur. "That must have been terribly interesting. Do you still act?"
"Oh, no." She bit her lip, and a certain wistfulness came into her eyes. "I left it all for dear Brent." She looked at her husband, her lips turned up on one side. "And then we had Peter, and that was the end of my time before the footlights. Of course, a woman's figure is always a bit frumpy afterward."
With a regretful pout of her full lips, she slid one hand from her slender waist to her hip and looked at the men seated at the table, obviously waiting for at least one of them to object. Nick glanced at Drew, smirking slightly. She knew exactly how she looked, and it certainly wasn't frumpy.
"Nonsense, sweetheart," Landis said. "You haven't aged a day since we met. If anything, you've grown only more beautiful."
"There, you see? That just proves that love is in fact stone blind." She laughed softly and lifted her wineglass in a silent toast to him. "You turn my head terribly, darling."
He toasted her in return, a sudden warm softness in his brown eyes. "It is one of the great pleasures of my life, my love."
She gave him a secretive little smile and then faced Madeline again. "I suppose Drew is just as bad. Worse, I'd guess. He was always such a romantic when I knew him back at Oxford."
"I trust we've all grown up a bit since then," Drew said.
Excerpted from Murder at the Mikado by Julianna Deering. Copyright © 2014 DeAnna Julie Dodson. Excerpted by permission of Bethany House Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Smashing good fun! When I read the first book in the series I was hooked and I have been eagerly anticipating each of the succeeding books. When reading a Julianna Deering book I am reminded of Audrey Hepburn's recurring comment in Paris When It Sizzles about a switch on a switch on a switch. That is exactly what happens in each book, and especially Murder At The Mikado. Just when you think you have it all figured out here comes an alibi or an opposing clue. Julianna Deering is a master at leading the reader's mind in one direction and making you think you are pretty clever, then wham! A switch. I am usually fairly good at figuring out who-done-it in mystery stories, too many Agatha Christie's I suppose, but in the three Drew Farthering mysteries I have only half guessed the murderer once. One of the things I like best about this series is the atmosphere. I love historical novels that sweep you away into that time period, ones that leave you totally immersed. Each of the books features a murder in a different setting and I have to say that I really enjoyed Murder At The Mikado's setting of a theater. Another thing I have noticed is that Julianna Deering doesn't always shy away from difficult subjects. While they are never really forefront of the story, instead adding to the mystery, but they make the characters more real to the reader. Even the main characters aren't perfect, each has made and even still make mistakes, they have their own insecurities and fears. In short, they are flawed as people truly are. Murder At The Mikado is a wonderful addition to a great series and I am secretly hoping that it will either be continued or possibly be a spin-off series with the same characters. Don't miss any of the books in this wonderful Christian period-set mystery series! (I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are entirely my own.)
Author Julianna Deering stepped it up with Murder at the Mikado! This is the third book of the The Drew Farthering Mystery series. I would recommend starting with the first one, Rules of Murder. However, in all honesty, I had been a little lukewarm about this series. There are many positives… These books are set in a fun time period and location filled with quirky characters. They are clean, as in I don’t have to wade through vulgar language or embarrassing bedroom situations, AND I would be willing to let my daughters read them. Also, there a sweet love story developing between the solving of mysteries! But I have been won over with Murder at the Mikado! :) So… Is there going to be another one, Deering? Drew and his financee Madeline are looking forward to their wedding. However, Fleur, an old flame of Drew’s steps into the picture and stirs up some buried wounds in Madeline. When Fleur becomes the prime suspect in some murders, her husband asks for Drew’s help while Madeline is hoping just once he would say no! …Will they make it to the alter or will their relationship die a tragic death of it’s own. I loved that she pulled the original detective trio — Drew, Madeline (though not as excited this time), and Nick, Drew’s best friend — back together! Madeline’s aunt Ruth is still a wonderful addition to the story. Also Chief Inspector Birdsong has become a favorite for me — gruff and serious, but his willingness to allow these amateurs to get involved has grown through the series. :) Deering kept me guessing to the end. I would think I had it figured out and then a kink would be thrown in!! Who is involved? … Fleur? Her husband? The nanny? One of the maids? One of the actors? The missing reporter? I received this book for free from Bethany House in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion.
Murder at the Mikado is the first book that I’ve read by author Julianna Deering and I got off to a bumpy start with this book. As I was reading chapter one, I found the characters to be rather one-dimensional, boring, self-focused, vapid and empty. I hadn’t connected with any of the characters at that point and didn’t particularly like or care about any of them. When I put the book down for the night and was worried that it might be 300 plus pages of that. But to my pleasant surprise things changed for me starting about page 20. I found some people that were kind and decent, characters I might connect with, like Drew, Madeline, Nick and Aunt Ruth. As the book continued I was able to get into the story and learn about the characters and their backgrounds and what motivated them as they were all interwoven in to a murder mystery that begged to be solved before the wedding day of Drew and Madeline. I found the book to be a little confusing, especially at the beginning. There are so many characters and it would have been helpful to have a page at the beginning of the book telling who the characters are and little bit about them. The book seemed a little long. I was surprised that after we learned who the culprits were, the book continued on for about 25 plus pages as it wrapped up some loose ends with two of the main characters. But all in all, I found this to be an interesting book and period piece. Author Julianna Deering is good at describing the people and scenes so I could almost imagine seeing the scenes take place like a movie in my mind. I would recommend Murder at the Mikado. Now that I am familiar with Julianna Deering writing style I would like to read more of her books. One last note, or a question really, what make a book “Christian fiction”? Is it the fact that the writer is Christian or that the Gospel and faith are shared?
Another fantastic Drew Farthering mystery by Ms. Deering! While I am far too busy to have a lazy afternoon to spend reading, during my available my spare time you had to fight me to get this book out of my hands. The depth of the mystery and the pacing of the overall story were about on par. Not to mention the many twists and curves to keep you guessing along the way! I went into the novel eager for a fresh mystery, and Ms. Deering came through. Something I look for particularly in mystery novels is a shocking reveal. Let me say, I have never read a book where the culprit was... Oh, wait. I can't tell you. ;-) Read the book for yourself!! I was pleasantly shocked I had not figured it out. But, moving past the whodunit excitement, I loved a couple of the new characters we met, particularly Peter. I'm a sucker for adorable, fictional kids. Maybe it's because they represent their real-life counterparts well. Well, to wrap up this review, I must say I've become so attached to Drew, Nick, and Madeline over the course of these books, that I dearly hope this is not the end of their adventures! It's safe to say that if you have read and enjoyed the previous books, Murder at the Mikado, will definitely suit your fancy. Whether you're a fan of the 1930s, or the mystery genre, or both, you should enjoy this new release. I recommend to readers at least fifteen or older for readability. I received this book from Bethany House in return for an honest review of my opinions, which I have done. Thanks!
What I liked most about this mystery was I felt like I had stepped back in time to an era captured by some of my other favorite crime novelists Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, and Dorothy Sayers AND the series Downton Abbey. High tea is served, a butler sees to the needs of the owner Drew Farthering, and a wedding is imminent, or is it? Murder interferes with well-laid plans. Oh, my. And the clever author kept me guessing who done the dastardly deed. Just as I was sure I’d figured it out, she surprised me with an unexpected twist. More than the mystery and the setting kept me reading, the characters are well-drawn and I found myself caught up in the mental torture of Drew’s dilemma over helping the woman from his past. If he does, he might rid himself of past demon and a loyal employee. However, his fiancée’s pleas to stay out it of are hard to ignore. Entanglements that are out of his control keep him involved. A clever solution to the murder left me totally satisfied. My one small criticism would be that the ending went on too long, but for those who love romance and weddings, this will not detract. (I was given a copy of the book in exchange for this review.)
This is the delightful third installment of amateur sleuth, Drew Farthering and his sidekicks, Madeline and Nick. Drew and Madeline are preparing for their coming nuptials. When Drew invites his new business manager and his wife to dinner, he discovers that Mrs. Landis is someone with whom he shares a troubling past. He knows her to not be a woman of her word and a very good actress. When Mrs. Landis comes to Drew for help after being accused of murder, Madeline is very sure that she doesn’t want Drew to have any part in it. Drew feels that Mr. Landis and his delightful son are deserving of help. As the murders grow from one to two to three, Drew finds himself caught between identifying the murder and following his fiancée’s wishes. Fans of Agatha Christie will be delighted with this series as they take place during the same time period with plots that take many turns and twists. This book has great appeal to anyone who enjoys a great mystery without the gruesome details. This being the third in the series, it is much more enjoyable to have read Rules of Murder and Death by the Book so you will have the background story behind this book. I received this book from NetGalley in return for my honest review
Are Wedding Bells Ringing? Once again, the author brings us back to the classic English Mystery of the 1930′s, writing in a style similar to Agatha Christie. Drew Farthing is a rich young man, and the owner of a sprawling estate in the English countryside. In the past, he has enjoyed mystery solving as an interesting past-time. However, Drew has come to the conclusion that uncovering the truth is a special gift he has been given–and plans to devote himself to that occupation. While sleuthing, Drew gets help from his American fiancée Madeline, and long-time friend, Nick. This time, the mystery revolves around characters in a theater troupe. Before the story ends, three mysterious deaths take place, plus one very close call. After the first death, that of the owner of a theater and lead actor, Fleur Landis is accused. The former actress, and very beautiful Fleur, has a connection to Drew. It turns out that she and Drew had a rather torrid, although brief, love affair six years earlier. Drew confesses all to his fiancée, saying his relationship with Fleur was over and done with six years earlier. Unfortunately, Madeline is being eaten alive with jealousy about it. She doesn’t want Drew to help with the case, or finish it, once he starts. However, Drew feels obliged to look into it, not for the sake of Fleur, but for that of her little boy and husband–who incidentally works for Drew. Although solving the mystery is the main point in the book, updates of Madeline and Drew’s relationship, and wedding plans, are woven throughout. The character of Madeline was frustrating in this story. A side of her is shown that is never pretty in anyone: jealousy and insecurity, along with the sometimes irrational decisions based on those feelings. Ultimately, everything comes to a satisfactory end. Murder at the Mikado is the third installment in this series. There are references to some things in earlier books, but this book could be read as a stand-alone story. I always love a good mystery, especially one that is not easy to figure out. Happily, this tale does not disappoint, and Ms. Deering keeps the reader guessing right up to the end. Hopefully there will be more books from this series in the future. The characters are likeable, and the setting is fun. I recommend this 5-star book, as well as, the entire series to anyone who likes fascinating mysteries that are clean, and written from a Christian point-of-view. The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book through Bethany House Publishing for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner. Despite my receiving the book free, it has not influenced my judgment, and I have given an honest opinion.
Murder at the Mikado Julianna Deering Book Summary: British High Style Meets Old-Fashioned Detective Work in This Witty Series. Just as Drew Farthering thinks his life has found smooth waters, Fleur Landis, an old flame, reappears in his life. She's married now, no longer an actress, and he expects she'll soon disappear--until she comes to him in dire need. The lead actor in her old troupe's production of The Mikado has been murdered, and Fleur is the police's number one suspect. Drew would love nothing more than to just focus on his fiancé, Madeline, and their upcoming wedding, but he can't leave Fleur in the lurch--even if she did break his heart once. As Drew, Nick, and Madeline dive into the murder, they discover more going on behind the scenes of the theater troupe than could ever have been imagined. Nearly everyone had a motive, and alibis are few and far between. It's Drew's most complicated case yet. Review: I really liked the third book in the Drew Farthing series. I found Madeline more human and less standoffish. She was exactly what a heroine should be. The mystery was great and realistic. I found Drew to be the main constant who was fun to read and a strong character along with Nick. The secondary characters were realistic and brought out the solid storyline that I heard Ms. Deering wrote. I enjoyed the mystery and went back and forth in my mind as to who did it and concluded who I thought it was, although many things were thrown into the pot to keep me questioning my conclusions. This made the ending quite suspenseful. I found Fleur to be well written with her wishy-washy ways toward men and other! I am hopeful for a book four to tie up some loose ends! I would like to thank Net Galley and Bethany House Publishing for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.
I adore this series! Every time I pick up an installment, I feel like I'm in the middle of a Thin Man mystery. This book, the third in the series, was the best yet. And the ending even felt like a Thin Man because the main suspects were all together in one place. Each story builds the romance between Drew Farthering and his girl Madeline Parker. Their romance is filled with believable twists and turns and I won't spoil that here. I love that each book stands alone on the murder mysteries. Each can be taken completely separately and out of order for the mystery. But I do advise reading them in order for the romance -- and it is a sweet one! This could become one of the great crime fighting duos. The mystery is layered and each time I thought I was figuring it out, a new body was discovered. The twists and turns came together beautifully in the end, but it kept me guessing. That's hard to do... mind you, I had suspicions but wasn't convinced enough to land on one side or the other. This book (and the series) are perfect for those who love a good whodunnit it mixed with romance and a great dash of black and white movie flair.
It seems almost morbid to so enjoy a mystery revolving around gruesome deaths, and yet I cannot escape the fact that I did enjoy it. Very much. So many suspects to consider. What fun it was to work with Drew once again to solve this mystery. Full Review at my website.
Drew Farthering’s life is finally going as planned. He is engaged to the love of his life Madeline and they are happily planning their pending nuptials, and the best part is the only mysteries to be seen are those on the pages of books. That is, until an old flame from Drew’s youth shows up in the most unexpected place with a murder hot on her heels. Needless to say, the future Mrs. Farthering is none too happy and Drew plans to stay as far from this fire as possible. But there is more to this case than meets the eye and Drew, Nick and Madeline can’t seem to help getting drawn in. I haven’t read many murder mysteries aside Agatha Christie and Nancy Drew when I was younger but Julianna Deering brings back all I loved about the “who-done-it” genre! Drew and Nick are charming heroes who know how to get things done while still being absolute gentlemen and Madeline always reminds me of Nancy Drew. Drew and Madeline’s love story has been one of my favorites I have read in a while. The dynamic of their relationship continues to be tested and grow throughout the book as they learn more about each other and their past mistakes. I won’t spoil the mystery but it kept me guessing until the very end and I hope this isn’t the last we’ll see from this series. I’d recommend this author to any mystery fans! ***I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own***
Having read the first two books in the Drew Farthering Mystery series, I was thrilled to return to early 1930’s England and catch up with the lives of these interesting characters. Once again, I enjoyed the sophisticated and witty banter that occurs between Drew, Madeline, and Nick Dennison, Drew’s longtime friend. In Murder at the Mikado, both Drew and Madeline have to face some facts about themselves, their relationship with each other, and past events that have shaped the way they both view relationships. Using Madeline’s insecurities about herself, the author did an excellent job of highlighting the importance of trusting in God and taking one step at a time, letting Him lead the way. As with the other books in the series, more than one poor soul will fall victim to murder before Drew and his friends are able to track down the culprit. Although not exactly what I would term a cozy mystery, this series of books has a feel all its own. Murder at the Mikado is not a fast-paced suspense. It is a look back at a more genteel time, through the eyes of members of high society, and I truly enjoyed the trip!
I did jump into the third book in a series with Murder in the Mikado, but the plot was easy enough to follow without the backstory.) This is the third Drew Farthing mystery, and when this one begins Drew is madly in love with his fiancee Madeline and buried in wedding plans. While Madeline dreams of choosing china patterns and wearing heirloom lace, Drew dreams of a future with this girl who understands him so well. She loves his home, appreciates his friends, and even solved two crimes with him! Drew hopes for domestic bliss in the years to come, and perhaps a few more detective cases. Of course, Drew doesn't want a case to land in his lap during pre-nuptial planing! And when the suspect is a woman Drew was once involved with, how is he to clear her name and keep Madeline happy? This mystery is just English enough to have that particular flavor. Drew talks about "traveling the Continent," and teatime is a fixture every day. Murder in the Mikado reminds me a bit of a Josephine Tey mystery. The extra characters are just difficult enough to peg that you will probably have multiple suspects. Drew and his friends Nick and Madeline make a fine and funny trio. They've still got a lot of growing-up to do, as they try to clear the suspect's name and prepare for their own futures. I heard that Julianna Deering is contracted with Bethany House for three more mysteries in this series, and we surely need further installments after this. The case may be solved, but we have to know more about the characters! Thank you Bethany House for my review copy!
As always I loved to read this series. These are easy reads and just so good. They still remind me a little of an older Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys type. This one had me crying for a little while also. I received this book from Bethany House for a fair and honest opinion.
Nutshell: This is book 3 in the Drew Farthering Mystery Series. Super sleuth Drew and his new fiancé Madeline are on the hunt for a murderer who keeps eliminating people at the local theater. Narrowing down the suspects list becomes quite the challenge until the killer is caught. Pro's: You really don't know the killer until the end and it's a twist! Con's: I had a very hard time getting into this book. Without having read the previous two books, I had no backstory to rely upon and not much was given. It took awhile to piece together why people knew each other and who went with who. Maybe if I had read the first two, I would have a different outlook on this book. Recommendation: If you enjoy mysteries, you may enjoy this series, but I would suggest starting with the first book and not the 3rd like I did. Bethany House Publishers sent me this complimentary book to review for them. Opinions expressed are my own.
In Murder at the Mikado, Julianna Deering brings us another charming tale of intrique in the Drew Farthering Mystery series. Caught in circumstances that can only lead to lose-lose decisions, we wonder how Drew, the aristocratic would-be detective, can extract himself and his bride-to-be from dismal results. Writing with a clever dose of humor and the appeal of England in the 1930’s, the author keeps us reading with one surprise after another. Deering’s mysteries don’t disappoint, instead they entertain and inspire. Murder at the Mikado nudged me to examine my insecurities to prevent them from hindering me from following God’s path.
Julianna Deering in her new book, “Murder At The Mikado” Book Three in the A Drew Farthering Mystery series published by Bethany House Publishers gives us another adventure with Drew Farthering. From the Back Cover: When a celebrated Actor Is Found Murdered In His Dressing Room, all signs point to Drew’s old flame. But behind the curtains nothing is what it seems and this quickly becomes his Most puzzling case Yet. Just as Drew Farthering thinks his life has calmed down some, Fleur Landis, a former girlfriend, reappears, in dire need of his help. She’s married now, no longer an actress–but the lead actor in her former troupe’s production of The Mikado has been murdered, and Fleur is the police’s number one suspect. Drew would rather focus on his fiancée, Madeline Parker, and their upcoming wedding, but he can’t leave Fleur and her family in the lurch–even if she did break his heart once. As Drew, Nick, and Madeline begin investigating, they discover more going on behind the scenes of the theater troupe than could ever have been imagined. It seems nearly everyone had a motive, and alibis are few and far between. Both the murder case and the presence of the beautiful, exotic Fleur put a heavy strain on Drew and Madeline’s relationship. Will their still-young romance survive the pressure? I think the great actor, William Powell, would make a terrific Drew Farthering. Not sure whom I would cast for Madeline but I have time I suppose. I seem to enjoy more a mystery that is set in the world of plays or in this case operettas. This one has it all and then some. Actors, back stage treachery, deceit, betrayal and, of course, murder. Someone murdered the lead actor in The Mikado and the police are blaming Fleur, an old flame of Drew. “Murder At The Mikado” progresses at a nice, steady pace as Drew sets off to find out who the murderer really is with the help of his friends before the body count rises. “Murder At The Mikado” is a page-turner, action, suspense thriller. Drew and his friends lives are in danger as they try to sort out the lies and deceptions and identify the killer before he kills them. Don’t start this book late at night because it will be very difficult to put it down. I recommend this book highly and am greatly looking forward to the next book in this excellent series. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Drew Fathering is at it again! Just as he thinks his life is slowing down, an old girlfriend, Fleur Landis, re-enters his life and in desperate needs of his crime solving help. The lead actor of Fleur’s old troupe’s production of “The Mikado” has been murdered and she turns up the number one suspect. Drew tries to stay out of this one and his past feelings for Fleur, so he can concentrate on his fiancee and upcoming wedding. But he can’t let down his business partner, even it puts quite the strain on his relationship with Madeline. This book started out pretty slow for me. However, I have not read the first two books before this one which I feel might of helped a great deal. But after I got all the characters straight and got to the plot, it picked up a lot. There are enough characters to keep it interesting, guessing who could be the suspect, but not too many where you get confused on who is who. I overall enjoyed the book. However, it has the feel like she is trying too hard to be Sir Conan Doyle and write a Sherlock novel. She lacks the in depth detail, jumping in to the good parts without the proper suspense in the climax, without boring the reader. Still worth reading if you are looking for a quick and easy murder mystery, great for a beach day. Disclaimer: I was given this book from Bethany House Publishing in exchange for my honest review.