On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
Murder at the Mena House (A Jane Wunderly Mystery)
Historical Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Egypt
Kensington (March 31, 2020)
Hardcover : 288 pages
ISBN-10 : 1496725859
ISBN-13 : 978-1496725851
Paperback (February 23, 2021): 304 pages
ISBN-10 : 1496725867
ISBN-13 : 978-1496725868
Kindle ASIN : B07R7S1D4F
WINNER OF THE 2021 AGATHA AWARD
Well-heeled travelers from around the world flock to the Mena House Hotel—an exotic gem in the heart of Cairo where cocktails flow, adventure dispels the aftershocks of World War I, and deadly dangers wait in the shadows . . .
Fiercely independent American Jane Wunderly has made up her mind: she won’t be swept off her feet on a trip abroad. Despite her Aunt Millie’s best efforts, the young widow would rather gaze at the Great Pyramids of Giza than into the eyes of a dashing stranger. Yet Jane’s plans to remain cool and indifferent become ancient history in the company of Mr. Redvers, a roguish banker she can’t quite figure out . . .
While the Mena House has its share of charming guests, Anna Stainton isn’t one of them. The beautiful socialite makes it clear that she won’t share the spotlight with anyone—especially Jane. But Jane soon becomes the center of attention when she’s the one standing over her unintentional rival’s dead body. Now, with her innocence at stake in a foreign country, Jane must excavate an elusive killer before her future falls to ruin in Cairo, and the body count rises like the desert heat . . .
Americans Jane Wunderly and her Aunt Mille arrive at The Mena House in the heart of Cairo with different agendas. Jane wants to take in the history of the place and visit the Great Pyramids. Her aunt plans to find young widow Jane a man. At least that is how the trip begins. Instead, Millie becomes close with two young women, one a dedicated tennis player, and Jane meets the mysterious Mr. Redvers. He and Jane spend quite a bit of time together as she tries to get to the heart of his true story. Both women also meet a variety of guests at The Mena House including Anna Stainton and her father. Anna clearly has a problem with Jane and every other young woman in the place. But it is Jane who finds herself in the hot seat after she finds the young socialite’s dead body. Prison was not on the itinerary for Jane’s Egyptian vacation so with a little help from her new friend Mr. Redvers she intends to find the real killer and ruin their vacation, not hers!
I have wanted to read this book for quite a while and I am so glad I finally did. Egypt, 1926, a luxury hotel with a view of The Great Pyramids. Yes! Please!
Ms. Neubauer takes her readers on a wonderful virtual vacation as her words bring Cairo to life. Like Jane, I would probably need time to adjust to the heat but it was fun to tag along on her adventures to the market, the museum, the camel races, and the pyramids. Either I have forgotten what I learned about the pyramids or I never knew the structure inside them. The way the author described them was so interesting and vivid. I know I will never see them with my own eyes so I really appreciated her take on the historic site.
Jane lost her husband in the great war and because of the life she had with him, she is in no hurry to get entangled with another one. She enjoys her independence and is determined not to lose it to any man. I liked her from the start and as her story unfolded I liked her even more. Her Aunt Millie appreciates leaving prohibition back in the states and is rarely seen without a cocktail in her hand. She is a feisty woman, set in her ways, and sometimes hard to deal with. We learn this trip is more than what she presented to Jane. Millie has a mystery all her own. Mr. Redvers is an interesting man and clearly hiding something. So in addition to trying to find a killer, Jane tries really hard to draw him out. All these characters continue to develop over the course of this story but I truly feel we have just scratched the surface.
The death of Anna Stainton was not an easy solve. There were several suspects and Jane really had her work cut out for her. Different people had different motives and she came up with several theories. She did make some risky moves. I liked how she tried to talk herself out of them but then pushed full speed ahead. I was shocked when the killer was revealed.
As for Millie’s mystery, I had an inkling early as to what was happening but it turned out to be much more than I even imagined.
I really enjoyed reading Murder at the Mena House. It was a great introduction for this series and Jane and Millie. I really liked Mr. Redvers and hope that he turns up in the next book Murder at Wedgefield Manor. I am looking forward to tagging along with Jane again soon.
Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent
About Erica Ruth Neubauer
Erica Ruth Neubauer spent eleven years in the military, nearly two as a Maryland police officer and one as a high school English teacher before finding her way as a writer. She has been a reviewer of mysteries and crime fiction for Publishers Weekly and Mystery Scene Magazine for several years, and she is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. When she’s not writing, Erica Ruth enjoys traveling, yoga, and craft beer. She lives in Milwaukee, WI.
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