Alas, She Drowned (Stratford Upon Avondale Mystery #1)


Maggie O’Flynn has given up being a novice nun and turned to writing steamy romance novels. In order to pay the bills, she opens a tea room in the charming village of Stratford Upon Avondale, home to a renowned Shakespeare Festival. However, the idyllic little town is soon in an uproar when an unpopular theater critic is found murdered by the river. Bookshop owner Nate Larimar is named the prime suspect. Determined to prove Nate didn’t do it, Maggie and her friend Gina set off to find the real killer but with a murderer on the loose Maggie might need more than tea and gossip to save Nate.


A contemporary cozy mystery set in a reproduction English tourist town, “Alas, She Drowned” is the first book in the “Avondale Mystery” series. Maggie is quirky but lacks depth. Her love interest Nate is less of a hero and more of a damsel in distress as the book focuses on Maggie trying to save Nate from being falsely accused without Nate doing anything. The romance is also a bit hit-and-miss, as Maggie pursues Nate, but Nate is gun shy about dating a former nun turned erotica writer. While Maggie’s friends tend to blend together, and the mystery itself is solved in a confusing fashion, the setting lends to some intriguing possibilities, and Maggie herself allows for plenty of humor to offset her inexperience with mystery solving, making this a fun light read for mystery lovers.


Sarah E. Bradley