When one of the new boarders, an eminent professor of Socratic philosophy, is found poisoned by hemlock in a meal of grilled quail, eccentric boarding house owner Cressida Upthorpe soon becomes the main suspect. Sibyl Potts, with the help of Mr. Buttons, launches herself into the investigation, much to the consternation of stressed police officer Blake Wessley. As the body count mounts, will Sibyl be able to clear Cressida’s name and find the real killer?
I liked the first book in this series, but I loved this one! It can be read as a standalone, as the references to the previous book are few and not very important to understanding the story. A great plot, lots of humor and the unique location in the outback of Australia combine to create a very enjoyable cozy series.
Mr. Buttons is just hilarious! When Sibyl enters the boarding house and finds someone dead at the bottom of the stairs, I yelled “IT BETTER NOT BE MR. BUTTONS!” I like Sibyl and the other characters, but Mr. Buttons really makes the books that much better, and I can’t wait to find out more of his back story.
The plot was engrossing and very well crafted, with lots of misdirections that kept me turning pages. I really enjoyed the ending, especially Mr. Button’s gold medal performance.
Just a small thing I want to point out; there was one chapter of the book where Cressida and Sibyl were talking about a bushranger named Thunderbolt and a parade in his honor, and it had absolutely no introduction or context. Finished one chapter and the next was like walking into the middle of a conversation about Thunderbolt being gay. While it was really funny, it completely baffled me a nd I’m not quite sure why it was in the book, except perhaps as comic relief.
With that aside, it was an excellent book and I definitely recommend it to cozy mystery fans or anyone looking for a light, funny read.