Jordan Bingham’s life falls to pieces when she gets framed for theft and murder in Marsh Madness by Victoria Abbott. Gaining help from the examples and wisdom of Ngaio Marsh’s gentleman detective, Detective Chief Inspector (later Superintendent) Roderick Alleyn, Jordan has to find strength from within to deal with the situation because each of her friends gets targeted in turn by the one attacking Jordan.
The drama begins when Jordan; her employer, Miss Vera Van Alst; and her Uncle Kevin get invited for lunch to Summerlea, home of the eccentric heir to a fortune who owns a well-known collection of books by Ngaio Marsh that he wants to sell to Vera. The next morning, however, they learn that Kauffman has been killed in a fall down the stairs, but then a few hours later, the police come to question them because before his fall, Kauffman was hit on the head with a small marble statue that contains Uncle Kevin’s fingerprints! But this information doesn’t even compare to her shock when Jordan finds a photo of Kauffman and discovers that the man she had lunch with was an imposter, as were his supposed secretary and butler. It becomes clear that this whole situation was a set-up planned long before any of it was executed.
The nightmare continues when someone plants the silver from Summerlea at Van Alst House, raising Jordan and Kevin from informal to formal suspects. Then, as the nightmare just seems to grow, Jordan’s boyfriend, Officer “Smiley” Tyler Decker has the nerve to break up with her in a text message!
The case gets more and more complicated, and even allies like Jordan’s gorgeous librarian friend, Lance, get pulled in by the police, leaving Jordan on the run as she tries desperately to figure out what is going on and who is behind these bizarre crimes.
In each of Abbott’s books, Jordan gets inspiration from a different classic mystery author, and this time, she looks to Roderick Alleyn and his painter wife, Agatha Troy, for guidance. She often brings up mannerisms and vocal expressions found in the Marsh books, but even more than that, Jordan gains insight from the way that Marsh sets so many of her books either on the stage itself or amid a group of actors. A mantra that helps Jordan is “Look to the theater.”
Carla Mercer-Meyer performs the narration of this, the fourth book in the Book Collector Mystery Series and makes the listening experience very enjoyable.
I have given each book in this series five stars because each one has impressed me as top-notch, but despite that, each book seems to improve on the previous. The plots grow stronger, the characters become more defined, and the way the books tie in to those of famous authors becomes more effective. So Marsh Madness too gets five stars, and I highly recommend this fun series!
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