Book Review: Rubies In the Roses by Vivian Conroy

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

RUBIES IN THE ROSES (Cornish Castle Mystery, Book 2) by Vivian Conroy is the second cozy mystery in the murderous adventures on Cornisea Island. I fell in love with Guinevere and Dolly in the locked room mystery in the first book, “Death Plays a Part”. In this second book, you become more intimately involved with Guinevere’s personal life and emotions as she works to solve the new mystery and murder on the tidal island.

As in the first book, Guinevere and her Dachshund Dolly are on Cornisea Island on a working summer break from the theater in London were she is a costume maker. She is helping Lord Bolingbrooke catalogue his vast library in the castle.

Usually Lord Bolingbrooke hides from anyone trying to visit the castle, but he surprises Guinevere by actually greeting Gregory Wadencourt, historian and artifact hunter, when he arrives with his own photographer, Max DeBurgh in tow. Wadencourt has a history with Lord Bolingbrooke, but it is not necessarily friendly. Wadencourt is on the island to find the bejeweled wedding goblet called The Rose and Stars which he believes is hidden on the castle grounds, but he is not the only person claiming rights to the goblet if found.

Several players, new and old, race to figure out the clues to the goblet’s location and claim it as their own. When a body is found floating under the small private pier by the castle, the islanders are devastated. Once again Guinevere and Dolly search for clues to bring a murderer to justice, but Oliver is not always by her side on this adventure. Oliver does not like or trust Max, but Max makes Guinevere feel beautiful and needed. She does not know if these feelings are real or if she can trust Max, but she wants to.

I really enjoyed this second trip to Cornisea Island and the visit with Guinevere and Dolly. This cozy mystery draws you in with an intricate plot, interesting characters, emotional motives and red herrings. The goblet mystery and the murder mystery both keep you turning the pages. You get to read more of Guinevere’s history as she reveals emotional pain from her past which makes her more realistic and dear to my heart. The secondary characters, whether returning from book one or new to this story, are all fully fleshed and not just caricatures.

This book is a wonderful addition to the series!

Thanks so much to HQ Digital, Net Galley and Vivian Conroy for allowing me to read this eARC for free in exchange for an honest review.

Please continue to follow the blogs and reviews from my fellow book lovers on the blog tour for Rubies In the Roses:

 

Book Review: Death Plays a Part by Vivian Conroy

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

DEATH PLAYS A PART (Cornish Castle Mystery Book 1) by Vivian Conroy is the first of a new cozy mystery series featuring Guinevere Evans and her adorable dachshund, Dolly. It is a clever locked room cozy set in an old castle on a tidal island off the coast of Cornwall.

Guinevere is a costume designer for a London theater that has to close for renovations over the summer. She receives an offer to work and live at Cornisea castle cataloguing their library. She is excited to have a summer of island adventures with Dolly to tell all of her theater family about in the fall.

When she arrives on Cornisea, she is immediately thrown into the mix of players that are producing a reenactment of the medieval trial of Branok the Cold-hearted. Arthur Haydock is playing Branok and is locked in a cell in the dungeon for the rehearsal and found stabbed to death by the cast. Only Lord Bolingbrooke has a key to the cell, but he swears he is innocent even though he and Haydock were at odds. Guinevere and Dolly, with the help of Oliver, Lord Bolingbrooke’s son who has returned after traveling the world, work to uncover all of the players’ secrets and motives for wanting Haydock dead.

I enjoyed every aspect of this story. The plot was tightly woven and had me guessing until the end, even though I suspected who was responsible, I could not figure out the “How”. The pacing is steady and as you read the story, you are always given some new piece of the puzzle that makes you want to continue on. The setting of the castle and village on the tidal island was vividly described and a unique setting.

Guinevere is a main character that I am looking forward to reading more about. We gets peeks into her past, but some things are still unclear. She is mature and steady even though she is only 24 years old, which could come from being raised by her grandmother and/or being on her own. One thing is certain, she and Dolly are a great pair. Oliver, Lord Bolingbrooke’s son, makes an interesting co-sleuth and possibly more in future books? Ms. Conroy portrays the islanders vs. the main landers mentality realistically and shows how it effects the characters’ moods and actions.

I am looking forward to more Cornisea adventures with Guinevere and Dolly.

**Please visit all of the Death Plays A Part Blog Tour stops and check out all of the great blogs/reviews for this new book!