Brilliant Disguise by Mary Anne Edwards is a classic murder mystery novel reminiscent of many murder mysteries I’ve read over the years. Unlike many I’ve read, however, there is an underlying budding romance thread in the plot. The first of Mary Anne Edwards’ Charlie McClung detective novels is a stand alone story and if it is the only book you read in the series it will not disappoint you. However, once you’ve read this one you will want to read more stories with Detective McClung and Marion Selby.
Detective Charlie McClung is new to the police department having recently left the stress of a big city police department. He wanted to spend his latter years in a small town where he imagined that police work would be slower and more sedate. Only two weeks into the new job a shooting occurs and is declared a suicide. However the neighbor and best friend, Marion, is certain that her friend Dianne would never consider suicide. Detective McClung has a bad feeling about the case. The Chief had been the first on the scene and was good friends with the husband. He had ruled the shooting a suicide and would not let McClung into the room to even do a cursory investigation.
The search for a killer was afoot and McClung and Marion work together to unravel the mystery. Deceit and corruption, murder and suspense, this is a great who-done-it that kept me thoroughly engaged and guessing throughout the entire book. Suspects are numerous and it isn’t until the very end that you really know for sure who killed Dianne. The budding romance is a treat and through the developing relationship the main characters and subplot are developed. The mystery and investigation develop the main plot with just the right amount of descriptives and hints to keep the reader engaged in the story.
I give this book a 5 star review for well developed plot and characters, excellent story telling and well edited text. I am beginning to love the character of Charlie McClung. Next in the series is “A Good Girl,” which I’ve already acquired. I am looking forward to reading many more Charlie McClung Mysteries.
A Good Girl by Mary Anne Edwards
After read Brilliant Disguise I was in love with Charlie and Marian and just had to read the next book in Ms. Edwards series. I was not disappointed. In this novel Marian meets Charlie’s family in much the same circumstances as she met Charlie in Brilliant Disguise. They arrive in his hometown just after a murdered girl was discovered in an armoire delivered to his family’s antique shop. Thus starts a murder investigation with Charlie helping his “copper” brother-in-law learn the ropes in a murder investigation.
Mary Anne Edwards did a wonderful job showing us Charlie’s family. The family dynamics were so well characterized that I could feel the love, warmth, and unity of the family. Individual personalities were simply and elegantly developed through the family interactions and dialogue. A strong and delightfully loving mother figure with an equally strong and supportive father. A family portrayed with just the fight amount of intimacy and teasing to make you want to be a part of that lively Irish family.
A Good Girl is a clean romantic murder mystery that I could recommend to adults and young adults as young as 16. Older women can appreciate the romance because Marian is an older widowed woman finding love again after over a decade of being alone. I give this a well deserved five star rating.
Book Review: Criminal Kind
After reading the first two Charlie McClung novels I had to read the third. I’ve fallen love with Marian and Charlie as a couple and as sleuths. In a Criminal Kinds we find the newly wed McClungs honeymooning on a cruise ship. The couple in the adjacent cabin celebrate their thirty-fifth anniversary by renewing their vows. Shortly afterward the wife is found murdered. In this investigation Marion sticks close to Charlie working with him to solve the mystery.
Ms. Edwards again does an excellent job developing the key characters and we get to know Charlie and Marion even more as they work together and continue to develop as a newly married couple. The plot is well done and keeps you guessing about the who and why of the murder. The story moves along smartly and is a relatively quick easy read. I did see a few more editorial errors in this novel than the previous two. A few autocorrect gremlins invaded, but I was able to identify the words intended and move on quickly.
Mary Anne Edwards keeps her writing clean and I would let youth as you g as 16 read her novels. Her books bring me back to a time in my youth reading Agatha Christy and Rex Stout mystery novels. I love her characters and stories, looking forward to many more Charlie McClung mystery novels. I give this another five star review even with the editing errors. It is an excellent read that brought me right into the characters and plot.