Welcome back to the world of Shady Hollow. I’ve got the honour of kicking off the blog tour for the third book in this delightful cosy mystery series by dynamic author duo Juneau Black, Mirror Lake. Just like the first two books, Shady Hollow and Cold Clay, this follows the anthropomorphic woodland creatures of Shady Hollow as they live their ordinary lives – and encounter extraordinary events, shaking up their community. Led by fox journalist Vera Vixen, we get to follow along as murder brings up secrets and redefines relationships.
Many thanks to Ollie at Hodder for sending me an review copy and inviting me back on the blog tour. All opinions are my own.
RELEASE DATE: 28/04/2022
STAR RATING: 4/5 ✶
SUMMARY: Keen journalist Vera Vixen is recovering from the Harvest Festival (and its bounty of local cheeses, cider and pies) when the calm is shattered by a scream from one of the small town’s grandest houses. Dorothy Springfield, a rat with a reputation for eccentricity, claims her husband – who is standing right next to her – has been murdered. Has Dorothy finally lost her grip on reality? Or is the rat who claims to be Edward an imposter? Vera’s fox nose scents a story. And it’s not long before the discovery of a body, minus the head, complicates things further… (from Hodder)
OPINIONS: I just adore these books. They’re so far out of what I ordinarily read, but I’ve found them such heartwarming comfort reads over the past few months as I’ve been able to read the trilogy as they’ve been released – and now that Mirror Lake is out, you can binge them all at once! This last installment is just as good as the first two, and now that we’ve had the opportunity to spend a fair bit of time with the characters, we really know them and their dynamics well, which makes it even more comforting. This last book in the trilogy has Vera investigate the case of a murdered man who very clearly alive in the town, and in the process uncovering family secrets, discovering more murders and helping her beau get a promotion.
I found that some elements of the mystery were rather transparent, but I don’t think these are books to read because they contain gripping plots. These books are charming because of their whole package – the community of Shady Hollow, Vera Vixen who manages to get a smile out of everyone she meets and the mysteries are just the red thread that allows for forward momentum within the stories. Nevertheless, they are reasonably fast paced and never boring, creating a place that the reader likes to spend time in and would love to visit (not least for the maple pumpkin pancakes Vera eats at Joe’s coffee shop…).
I’m looking forward to diving back into these in the autumn – they’ve got such autumnal vibes – with a mug of mulled cider. The series is just lovely and Mirror Lake is a worthy conclusion. I hope you give them a shot too, and like these books as much as I do.