Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Book Review: The Study of Secrets by Cynthia Kuhn (Lila Maclean #5)


Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong plot and characters
Cons: Some timeline issues
The Bottom Line:
On sabbatical
Lila makes time for murder
More page turning fun




Sabbatical with Murder

It is rare for a book to end with a cliffhanger, but when that happens, I can’t wait to get my hands on the sequel.  That was why I was so anxious to pick up The Study of Secrets, the fifth Lila Maclean mystery.  I’m glad to say it was worth the wait.

Lila Maclean has been taking her semester sabbatical with family friend Bibi Callahan.  She’s been finishing up her book on the mysteries of Isabella Dare as well as writing a mystery of her own.  With the final weeks of the fall semester winding down, Lila is facing the prospect of returning to her normal life.

Over the months, she has gotten to know some of Bibi’s friends, so she is happy to lead a book club meeting for them on one of Isabella Dare’s books.  The night starts out with fun and laughs but ends in tragedy when one of the women is murdered.  Bibi asks Lila to help look into the murder.  Fearing her friend will wind up accused of the crime, she is only too willing to jump it.  What secrets will she uncover?  How did they leave to murder?

The book doesn’t take too long to dive into the mystery at hand, and it keeps us engaged the entire way through.  There are multiple secrets in the past that could play into what is going on in the present, and Lila has to figure out how that all plays into the current death.  I loved watching her peal back the layers, and I was surprised by some of the twists and turns of the plot.  The climax was logical and answered all of my questions.

I did feel the timeline was a bit squishy.  We seemed to lose or gain days at random intervals.  None of that impacted the unraveling of the mystery, but this is a pet peeve of mine, so I did notice.

The characters are wonderful, but this is no surprise to series fans.  Most of them are new, but they are so real that I didn’t want any of them to be killed or be the killer.  I just knew it would be hard on Lila and the others.

Lila has been facing a complication in her love life, and we get further developments on that here.  I enjoyed how it was resolved, although parts of it felt a bit rushed.

I mentioned that Lila has been taking a fall semester sabbatical earlier, and I did that on purpose.  That’s right, much of the action takes place in December, and we get some fun scenes set around Christmas activities.  As a Christmas lover, I loved that added element.

Fans of the series will be thrilled to find out what happens next to Lila in The Study of Secrets.  The charming characters and engrossing plot make the pages fly by all too quickly.

Check out the rest of the Lila Maclean Mysteries.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

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