Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters, lots of fun
Cons: Mystery is a little weak
The Bottom Line:
Accident at faire
Ivy searching for killer
The characters shine
Ivy Must Find a Killer Before There is a Renaissance in Crime
I've got to admit, I've only been to one Renaissance faire in my life, and that was when I was a kid. Somehow, they never seem to cross my radar, although I do have friends who go and enjoy them. That is the setting for the latest, Ivy Meadows Mystery, Killalot, and it made me want to go find a Renaissance faire to visit. Okay, a much less lethal one.
Part-time PI and actress Ivy Meadows is enjoying a rare day off with her boyfriend, Matt, her brother, Cody, and Cody's girlfriend, Sarah, at the Renaissance faire currently located outside of Phoenix. Thanks for Ivy's friend Riley, they are enjoying the day for free. However, the day ends in tragedy when the group witness a jousting accident. One man is critically injured, and the other rides off into the desert. Riley was supposed to be in the match, and the rider who got away was on his horse and in his armor, but Riley claims to have been knocked out before the match.
When questions start to be asked about the incident, Ivy is hired to go undercover and learn the truth. Meanwhile, Riley's horse shows up at the rental home of John Robert Turner, part of the Broadway team known for such modern musical hits as Hello Dolly Madison. Ivy manages to find a way to get close to him as well, a chance that might mean a break for her acting career if Turner wasn't part of the incident. Was it an accident? Or was it something more serious? Can Ivy piece together what happened? Or will her undercover personas be discovered before that happens?
As you can see, there is a lot going on in this book, and Ivy rises to the occasion with her usual dedication. I was entertained the entire way through the book as Ivy tried to balance the many aspects of the case with things going on in her personal life.
Unfortunately, I did feel like the mystery could have been better developed. Yes, we do get a satisfying conclusion to the questions raised, but it could have been better seeded earlier in the story. Again, this isn't to say I was ever bored. There is so much happening in this book that it is impossible to not be having fun, but I felt those other things overwhelmed the mystery much of the time.
Part of that fun are the characters. They are an eclectic bunch, but that is what we've come to expect from the Ivy Meadows series. The new characters are a blast getting to know, and the series regulars are as strong as ever.
This series is usually billed as a comedic series, and I certainly agree with that. However, there are some much more serious undertones to the series thanks in large part of Ivy's backstory. This book takes a serious turn in the final quarter of the book, and it is so beautiful for it. The character growth we get from several characters is good, but the growth we get in Ivy is outstanding. Fans of the series will be very pleased with what happens here. If you are new to the series, you'll still enjoy this book, but it won't mean as much to you if you haven't read the earlier entries.
While the mystery in Killalot may not be the strongest in the series, there is still much fans of Ivy Meadows will enjoy. I definitely enjoyed it and look forward to seeing where Ivy goes from here.
Be sure to check out the rest of the Ivy Meadows Mysteries.