Series: Abel Adventures Mystery #1
Format Read: Trade paperback
Release Date: May 29, 2012
Buying Links: Seven Realms Publishing Amazon Barnes & Noble
Book Blurb from goodreads:
It's been two years since her fiancé's death. Amy Abel needs to start over. What better way for a shy, risk-averse woman to start than to sink all her savings into a travel agency specializing in adventure? Her first project is a mystery road rally through the European countryside.
At the starting line in Monte Carlo, Amy finds herself attracted to Marcus Alvarez, the most mysterious of her two dozen game-loving clients. But the rally gets off to a rocky start when an eccentric writer, the only person who knows the game's solution, is himself murdered back in New York.
Bea's thoughts:Who would kill a harmless mystery geek, and why are weird accidents beginning to happen along the way? To her horror, Amy discovers that this fictional mystery was based on a real, unsolved case, one that Marcus knows too much about. Now she has no choice but to join forces with Fanny, her domineering mother, and solve this on her own, before the killer strikes again.
I've been a mystery fan for about as long as I've been reading. When I received the email about this book and tour, it sounded interesting - a mystery, a travel tour, a hint of romance - how could I pass it up?
Amy runs a travel agency along with her mother Fanny. They offer travel packages that have some risk or an adventure as part of the trip. Their first one is the Monte Carlo to Rome Mystery Road Rally. They hired a writer who specializes in writing mystery games for dinner theaters, house parties, etc. But this story, though Amy and Fanny don't realize it, is based on an unsolved real murder mystery.
Before the trip the writer, Otto, is killed. Throughout the trip, there are incidences - wrong clues, robberies, etc. - and finally one of the travelers is murdered. One of the travelers, Marcus, who is actually the assistant to the mystery writer and is there to keep an eye on things, has been flirting with Amy. However, he lies as easily as he breathes and she's never quite sure if she can trust him. He finally reveals himself as Otto's assistant when things continue to go wrong. Near the end of the tour, one of the travelers is murdered and another is arrested for it.
Back home after the end of the trip, Amy and her mother Fanny try to investigate the various mysteries - the minor incidences that occurred, the murder of one of the travel guests, the murder of Otto, and the original murder that the rally was based on.
Amy and her mother stumble a bit and make mistakes as they try to sort out who killed whom and why. But, they are both amateur detectives, so it's to be expected. Some of the other travelers help with the investigation and that doesn't always go smoothly either. There are some unlikely coincidences throughout the story but it's complex and twisty and will keep you on your toes.
Conrad gives depth to his characters, making them real, flawed, and believable though Marcus could have used more depth. Fanny was meddling, domineering, and a know it all; she meant well but I found her annoying at times. Amy was timid at times and bold at other times, judgmental, kind and reserved. The travelers on the tour were well developed and intriguing. Although the story slowed down at times, overall, it held my interest and made me want to go visit Monaco and Italy. Conrad spins a story and keeps your interest.
One thing I want to make note of is how Conrad handled the topic of food allergies. I was delighted to see that he didn't make a mess of it but actually knew what he was talking about. I get so frustrated and even angry with books, movies and TV shows that can't be bothered to get their facts right.
"Rally 'Round the Corpse" is intelligent, clever, occasionally humorous and a pleasure to read.
I received a paperback from the author as part of the blog tour.