Title: The Invisible Murder
Author: Joyce Cato
Summary: When traveling cook Jenny Starling starts her new job for the aristocracy living in a genuine castle, she is thrilled, envisioning nothing more arduous than days spent preparing her beloved recipes. When a fabulous jeweled dagger, one of the castle’s many art treasures, is used to murder a member of the staff and the Lady of the house insists that Jenny–quite literally–helps the police with their enquiries, it seems as if the reluctant sleuth must once again discover the identity of the killer among them. But how was it done, when the murder was committed in front of several impeccable witnesses–none of whom saw a thing?
The Invisible Murder
by Joyce Cato
Daphne buys more books than I do and I buy a lot! She’ll see a cute title and get the book. She and I like mysteries, including the cozy genre.
This book in particular is a British cozy set in a castle in Oxfordshire, England. It’s the home of a Lord and Lady Avonsleigh, the latest generation of art lovers and collectors.
Their museum-like castle has famous paintings, urns, and a fancy bejeweled Munjib dagger. Spoiler: I mention this because the dagger figures into the murder mystery. And every cozy has to have a murder, right?
But the Avonsleigh have a major problem – and it’s not the murder. They have no cook. Egads! No cook? The old cook retired leaving the nibs without an array of kippers and puddings. They are looking for just the right person. Enter Jenny Starling, travelling cook, who arrives in a hot pink van, with a license plate that reads “EatMe1”.
As Lady Vee interviews Jenny, her husband starts drooling as the various dishes the new cook will make tantalize his taste buds. Jenny plans to make things like kidney pie, fried kippers, various puddings and custards, much swede added (doesn’t sound very yummy to me!).
The cook not only is a talented chef but also happens to be an amateur sleuth. The game is afoot.
I was trying to visualize Jenny because she was described as alternately beautiful, Rubenesque, curvaceous and fat, in addition to being described as tall. I never could come up with a mental picture of Jenny’s image but it was often mentioned that she had beautiful eyes.
Meet Lady Roberta, the heiress; her governess, Ava; the very handsome art teacher, Malcolm; Meecham, the butler, and his daughter Gayle; the beautiful maid Janice; and the surly kitchen helper, Elsie.
On the surface, each of them seems to have nothing in common but their employers.
And then the cultured and young governess is stabbed to death in the conservatory. The Munjib dagger is found in its original spot on the wall – dripping blood. Why? When? And who? Become the questions.
Jenny Starling to the rescue! Her assistance is initially resisted by Inspector Fisher, but eventually he does have to admit she’s pretty sharp.
Can everything be solved without staining the reputation of the Avonsleighs? Read it for yourself and see if you can solve the crime before Jenny does.
I’d give it 3.5 stars out of 5. It was an overall, fun, relaxing read.
I decided that I needed to get a British-English dictionary just so I could figure out what some of the things mentioned in the story were.
Nibs – is the British term for someone of means and authority. Hence, Lord and Lady Avonsleigh are called the nibs by the castle help.
Kippers – herring that have been dried, seasoned and smoked.
Kidney pie – egg yolk, ox kidney and other ingredients wrapped in a warm pie crust
Swede – Rutabaga