Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Methods of Malice by Ellery Adams & Tina Radcliffe

 Methods of Malice
Book Summary

Welcome back to Hope Street Church, where friendships are formed, fresh starts are encouraged, and mysteries are solved . . .

The Hope Street Community Theater is staging 
It’s a Wonderful Life as a fundraiser, and Cooper and the Bible study group are all taking part. They’ve also managed to land the help of a famous Broadway director who’s trying to clean up his image after a scandal, and he travels to Richmond along with his star actress and staff. But the director’s entourage epitomize the worst of theater personalities, with petty grievances and jealousies stirring up more drama off the stage than on. And when the assistant director is found murdered in her hotel suite, the list of possible suspects is longer than a red carpet.
Unwilling to stand by with a murderer in their midst, Cooper and her friends get to work ferreting out clues and surveilling the staff, including a dangerously inept set technician as well as the director’s current and former love interests. Despite inexplicable and terrifying stage “accidents” threatening to derail their investigation and the play, the intrepid amateur sleuths know the show must go on. Their only prayer is to set a trap and successfully catch a killer before it’s curtains for Cooper.

Includes heavenly recipes from Magnolia Lee’s kitchen!
My Thoughts

Methods of Malice by Ellery Adams and Tina Radcliffe is a pleasing story.  I like Ellery Adams writing style.  She creates stories with friendly characters, charming settings, and interesting storylines.  I enjoyed returning to Richmond, Virginia to catch up with the Cooper Lee and the other members of the Sunrise Bible study group.  All the members of the bible study are participating in the Hope Street Community Theater’s production of It’s a Wonderful Life.  The production is a fundraiser for the senior center.  Unfortunately, the rehearsals are plagued with incidents.  Then, Regina McAllister, the assistant director and the director’s ex-wife, is murdered.  It is important that this production moves forward because the senior center is counting on them.  Cooper Lee and the members of the Sunshine Bible study group set out to unmask the killer.

I found Methods of Malice to be easy to read.  The characters are realistic and relatable.  Grammy Lee is a hoot.  I like that she speaks her mind (in other words she is outspoken and opiniated).  I liked that all the members of the Bible study were participating in the play.  Some of them would have preferred to work behind the scenes (okay, most of them), but they put aside their awkwardness and fears for a good cause. The mystery was fun to solve.  The victim was not well-liked (she had an attitude problem) so there are several suspects.  There are some plot twists along the way that keeps things entertaining.  Cooper Lee and the Bible study group asks questions and uncover clues.  The reveal nicely wraps up the whodunit.  Your mouth will be watering from the tasty treats whipped up by Cooper’s mother, Maggie and Cooper’s beau, Jon Eason (there are recipes at the end of the book).  

I truly enjoyed how the story ended.  It is heartwarming.  There are changes in store for a couple of the characters.   The last meeting of the year for the Sunshine Bible study group touched on some good points.  I like the idea of a gratitude journal.  My favorite lesson was, “Guarding our hearts and letting the things of God in and not the world.”  The members of the Bible study are good friends.  I like how they are there for each other.  Methods of Malice is the seventh A Hope Street Church Mystery and it can be read as a standalone.  The author provides the necessary background information on the characters.  Methods of Malice is a charming Christian cozy with an important play, a dead assistant director, concerning calamities, Bible study sleuths, and a killer Christmas.  

Methods of Malice is available from Amazon*.  You can find the other A Hope Street Church Mysteries here.  Ellery Adams has Paper Cuts (I am reading it right now) coming out April 25.  It is the sixth A Secret, Book, and Scone Society NovelMurder in the Book Lover's Loft (I cannot wait to get my hands on this one) will be out on July 25.  It is the ninth A Book Retreat Mystery.  Tina Radcliffe has The Baby Inheritance publishing on April 25. Thank you for joining me today.  I will return tomorrow with my forthright review of Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murders by Jesse Q. Sutano.  I hope that you have an inspiring day. I am off to work on my new bike (the doctor thought it would be good exercise).  It arrived unassembled (of course).  The instructions are not the best.  A task that I thought would take two hours is taking me days.  I will get there in the end.  When I am done I will get myself a cute basket and lights for the wheels.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 

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