Quick synopsis: As 1960’s Oxford prepares itself for the inaugural Miss Oxford Honey Beauty Pageant, excitement is in the air. But when one of the leading contestants is found dead, suspicion hangs over the event. Poisoned, the authorities assume her death was suicide. But after a malicious series of pranks and blackmail attempts are reported, WPC Loveday and Coroner Clement Ryder are called upon to solve the case. In an atmosphere of fierce competition, the list of suspects is endless. Could what have started as harmless fun become a deadly race to win the prize?
Review: This cosy murder mystery is a classic whodunit. A kind of British 1960s Miss Congeniality featuring an undercover cop in a beauty pageant. Cosy, comfortable and easy-reading, this story drew me in and kept me turning the pages. The ensemble class are likeable, the main protagonists especially so, as they go about their business trying to figure out who keeps pranking the young girls and, possibly, killing them.
The positives: The story is well laid out and the mystery is suspenseful and well-drawn.
The negatives: I usually prefer a story with a little more guts and gore, I like my protagonists flawed and ruthless, but I really appreciated this break from the norm and I can see why Faith Martin has such a loyal following. It’s a great read!
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars.