Monday, October 28, 2019

Book Review: Murder Cuts the Mustard by Jessica Ellicott (Beryl and Edwina #3)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Another enjoyable case with Edwina and Beryl
Cons: Story a bit sidetracked in the middle
The Bottom Line:
Murder in village
Hits close to home for duo
Great trip back in time

Murder Adds Spice to Life

I love a book that can give me a glimpse of another time and place while entertaining me.  That’s exactly what we get with the Beryl and Edwina Mysteries from Jessica Ellicott.  Murder Cuts the Mustard is their charming third case.

If you haven’t met these ladies, they reside in the English village of Walmsley Parva.  The two ladies are school friends who kept in touch over the years and have reunited due to circumstances.  Edwina is a lifelong resident of the village, while Beryl is an American who has spent her life on one adventure or another.  The duo may be very different, but they work well together when it comes to solving murder.

And Walmsley Parva is facing yet another murder.  It’s now June of 1921, and the body of Hector Lomax has been found in the graveyard.  Hector was not a well-liked or respected man in town, and that holds true for Simpkins, Edwina’s elderly gardener.  Simpkins was Hector’s brother-in-law, and they shared a house, so naturally, he becomes a suspect in Hector’s death.  However, that isn’t the only surprise the day has in store for Simpkins and, by extension, Edwina and Beryl.  It quickly becomes clear the pair of friends need to get to the bottom of what is happening for their own sake as well as that of Simpkins.  Can they do it?

I love these ladies.  As I said, Beryl and Edwina complement each other perfectly, and they are able to use their various strengths and relationships in the village to get to the truth of what is happening.  The book is told in third person, and we spend near equal time in each of their heads.  This switch is never hard to follow, and it allows us to get to know both of them better, not only through how they react to things, but to how they view each other.  We also get more growth for both of them.  Of course, they are surrounded by equally charming and strong characters, and I enjoyed seeing the regulars again.

The mystery started off strong, but I felt it got a bit sidetracked in the middle.  However, everything came together for a logical climax, and I was entertained the entire way through.

The time right after World War I was a time of change for much of the world, and this book does a good job of showing us how those changes were affecting life in England during the time period.  It’s fascinating to observe, and since we get to see life from the point of view of two very different characters from different countries, the changes are presented in relatable ways.  The best part is, this all flows naturally out of the story and never bogs things down.

Wondering about the title?  Yes, there is a connection in the plot, but I will let you figure it out for yourself.

I have quickly begun to look forward to time spent with Edwina and Beryl.  If you have yet to open one of these time machines, you are in for a treat.  And if you have already met these lovely ladies, then you’ll enjoy Murder Cuts the Mustard.

Enjoy more trips back in time with the rest of the Beryl and Edwina Mysteries.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.


  1. Oh this sounds fun! Too bad about getting side tracked in the middle but the rest of it sounds good and I do love time machine type reads!

  2. I too love this series...the ladies are smart and funny and fun to read about!