Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Wedding Plot by Paula Munier
Series: Mercy & Elvis Mysteries #4
Published by Minotaur Books on July 19, 2022
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
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Love never dies a natural death….
When Mercy’s grandmother Patience marries her longtime beau Claude Renault at the five-star Lady’s Slipper Inn, it promises to be the destination wedding of the year. Just as the four-day extravaganza is due to begin, the inn’s spa director Bodhi St. George disappears—and Mercy’s mother Grace sends Mercy and Elvis to find him. But what they discover instead is a stranger skewered by a pitchfork in the barn on the goat farm where St. George lived.
As Mercy tries to figure out who the victim is and where St. George is hiding, the bride and groom’s estranged relations gather for the first of the pre-wedding festivities. Long-buried rivalries and resentments surface—and Mercy realizes that they’re all keeping secrets that could tear both families apart. When Elvis interrupts the escalating melodrama to alert Mercy to an intruder on the estate, she finds a wounded St. George in the cottage where she and Troy are staying. St. George is not who he says he is—but when he escapes from the hospital and disappears again, Mercy thinks he’s gone for good. With the wedding imminent and the families at each other’s throats, she decides finding St. George will have to wait.
The big day arrives—and one of the groomsmen shows up dead. Now the danger is up-close and personal. With the wedding held hostage, it’s up to Mercy and Elvis together with Troy and Susie Bear to stop the killer and save the bride and groom—before death do they part.
The Mercy & Elvis Mysteries series has become a favorite for me with plenty of mysteries, well-developed characters and dogs. In The Wedding Plot, a veterinarian, Patience, who is Mercy’s loved grandmother, is marrying another veterinarian, Claude. Mercy’s mother, Grace is running everything and various family members not met or developed previously are on hand. Patience is no problem but Grace is worse than Bridezilla. Grace means well but her ideas for Mercy are not what she wants for her life.
Mercy ends up heading to the destination inn where the wedding will be held early since the spa director / yoga instructor has gone missing. Her great aunt, Prudence, is the inn manager for the owner, Mercy’s wealthy friend, Daniel Feinberg. The Inn is a lovely destination in Vermont and I enjoyed the details, from the gardens to the goat farm where cheese is made nearby.
The mystery of missing spa director Bodhi is a key to some things happening here. He is more than he seems and has connections with the wedding party as well as history here. Bodhi, at least, provides clues to Mercy as she tries to figure out why someone is trying to kill him or her or others.
The murders are another layer of the mysteries with someone being murdered the night Bodhi disappears. The victim is not easily identified. Did Bodhi kill him? Or does he have a connection to someone else in the wedding? Or was it random?
The development of all the unusual characters who are parts of both families is well written. Their styles and hopes & dreams vary, and so the side plots of their lives add overall to the richness of the story. Previous books may have mentioned them but the only one we knew so well is Patience. She and Mercy are close.
Munier always does an excellent job of providing plenty of different levels of things happening at once. Here we have the wedding, the quirky personalities and rivalries in the families, the mystery of the missing spa director, the murders, and dogs. There is much more involved in the history of the families and the inn, but I won’t spoil it for you. The Wedding Plot has much to offer and I look forward to more of this series.
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