charredPUBLISHING INFO: Minotaur Books, 4/22/2014
GENRE: Fiction/Historical Mystery
SETTING: England, 1666
SERIES: Lucy Campion Mysteries #2

FROM PUBLISHING: Weeks after the Great Fire ravaged London, Lucy Campion—formerly a chambermaid, now a printer’s apprentice—is helping dig through the ashes of an old tavern, when a body is found stuffed into an old malt barrel, a knife through his chest. On the corpse is a small leather bag, promptly pickpocketed by a passing thief, and passed accidentally to Lucy. Inside the bag, Lucy discovers a strange collection of objects—the winnings from the last card game ever played at the tavern and a poem. These are also the only clues to the victim and his murderer. Not realizing that the poem is in code, Lucy persuades her new employer to publish the poem. This action leads to a chain of events that once again brings Lucy in direct confrontation with a murderer.

MY THOUGHTS: Well, the crimes themselves were interesting. The characters involved were not, except for Francis Clifford, who didn't make an appearance until near the end. I thought the murders were somewhat convoluted and a bit over the top, especially all the things involving Francis' parents, his mother in particular. Actually I think too much was going on and there were too many characters overall.

There's confusion for some time about who the murdered man in the barrel is. I just didn't like any of the characters that that murder introduced- Rhonda Water and Darius. There was something I found strange about them and I felt like they didn't fit into the story very well. That's when I started to get bored. A barmaid gets killed too. Revelations about a woman, Amelie, who had died before this story began come to light and we get introduced to her nutty father and Francis, her ex-lover. I don't like her father at all. I do like Francis. Too bad he wasn't in the story earlier.

Like with the first book in this series, this one too wasn't very interesting when it could have and should have been. All the elements of a good mystery were there- the narrative just stunk.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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