Mini Reviews : Fruit Cake and Fear/ Birthday Cake and Bodies by Agatha Frost

Mini Reviews : Fruit Cake and Fear/ Birthday Cake and Bodies by Agatha Frost

Hello, readers 🙂
Today, I am going to present my two short reviews for a cosy-mystery series penned by Agatha Frost which I have been following in the past few years.

Fruit Cake and Fear (Peridale Cafe Mystery #8)

A storm hits Peridale with disastrous effects. Barker’s cottage is destroyed, forcing him to move in with Julia, but she has more to worry about than him leaving his socks around and not putting the toilet seat up. Julia is shocked when the storm also uncovers a secret basement underneath her cafe and even more shocked when she finds the body of a teenage girl who has been missing for twenty years.

The cold case team rushes in, pushing Julia out of her cafe and leaving her to unravel the truth of the past one thread at a time. When she realises the girl, Astrid, was the daughter of Evelyn, the eccentric B&B owner, Julia vows to piece together the events that led to Astrid being trapped in a basement for decades. How did the girl die, and more importantly who killed her? Julia hunts for clues to a case the village had almost forgotten about so she can bring Evelyn the peace she deserves, but will she be able to do it in time before somebody she loves suffers a similar fate? (Goodreads)

It’s been a while – almost a year since I read the previous book thus it took me a while to connect the names with the characters like who’s who, but I enjoyed this book on the whole.
As the title suggests, this book features ‘fear’ that comes in various shapes and forms and the mystery was nicely constructed and executed supported by the author’s strong writing.

The secondary plot which takes place among Julia, Barker, and Jessie did feel a bit overpowering and made the mystery plot take a backseat as well as the culprit in this book was rather predictable, but it was delightful to see how those three characters form a bond which is translated as ‘a family’

Nice, breezy, and a solid read to bury yourself into. I think I’ll pick up the next book straight away.

Birthday Cake and Bodies (Peridale Cafe Mystery #9)

When Julia plans a surprise birthday party for Barker to finally meet his family, she did not expect that party to end in murder! With Barker’s three brothers in the frame, Julia is torn between respecting the man she loves, and her need to investigate! Will Julia be able to uncover the dark family secrets that lie at the heart of cracking this case without leaving behind a trail of destruction? (Goodreads)

Didn’t love it as much as I did the previous books.
Nice attempt of a “locked-room-murder-mystery” which kind of reminded me of something out of Agatha Christie novels, but the injections of a slapstick family comedy displayed through Jessie and Dot came across a bit overdone for me.

The plot was solid as always, the author’s attempt to make the case complex worked nicely… I think. To be perfectly honest, the heavy-handed comical drama deflated my interest, and took most of what could have been the enjoyment out of me. I was just along for the ride and don’t quite remember what I had just read, leaving hardly any room for playing detective. My mind was just not on.

Julia remains a mystery to me. Despite being the mainstay of the entire series and I have read as far as 9 books in the series, I have yet to completely warm to her. I have this ‘detached’ relationship with Julia, like keeping her at my arm’s length.
But maybe it was Jessie that bugged me the most. The more aggressive and forceful (in my opinion, that is) she becomes, the less inclined I am to go further. I am still unsure whether to pick up the next book in the series. I have become awfully picky. 

There you have it; these are my thoughts on the 8th and the 9th books in Peridale Cafe Mystery series which I have been following for the past few years.

I am not quite sure if I am going to continue following these series, but I’ll wait and see if I should ever feel motivated to pick it back up again 🙂

Thank you for dropping by for my mini reviews, hope you have a wonderful day ❤

6 thoughts on “Mini Reviews : Fruit Cake and Fear/ Birthday Cake and Bodies by Agatha Frost

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