If you love M. C. Beaton or Susan Wittig Albert, don’t miss the charming Birds of a Feather series from bestselling author Marty Wingate! In Empty Nest, Julia Lanchester’s life is interrupted by a murder most foul—and a killer who’s watching her like a hawk.
Manager of a tourist center in a quaint British village, Julia Lanchester finds herself with more ideas than time. Her boss is the Earl Fotheringill himself, but apart from him, she doesn’t mix well with the aristocracy. Unfortunately, toxic mold forces her from her cottage and into one of the earl’s countless spare rooms at the Hall. She tries to get a handle on her overload of work, while she finds herself arguing with dinner guests, chaffing at the sudden interest the earl’s son has in running the estate, and missing her new beau, Michael Sedgwick.
Her life goes from bad to sinister when Julia discovers poisoned sparrowhawks on the expansive estate grounds. And soon after, she finds one of the Hall’s visitors murdered—felled by the same poison. While simultaneously both spooked and angry, she still can’t keep herself from snooping, and dragging Michael along into her investigation. But will she find the culprit before her own wings are clipped?
Marty Wingate’s captivating mysteries can be enjoyed together or separately, in any order:
The Potting Shed series: THE GARDEN PLOT | THE RED BOOK OF PRIMROSE HOUSE | BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE | THE SKELETON GARDEN | THE BLUEBONNET BETRAYAL | BEST-LAID PLANTS
The Birds of a Feather series: THE RHYME OF THE MAGPIE | EMPTY NEST | EVERY TRICK IN THE ROOK | FAREWELL, MY CUCKOO
Praise for Empty Nest and Marty Wingate’s Birds of a Feather series
“Marty Wingate’s Birds of a Feather mysteries provide a perfect blend of quirky characters and atmosphere. These solid traditional cozies deliver a fabulous setting, lots of birding, intriguing bird lore, and complex whodunits with contemporary themes. Add the marvelous mysteries of this wonderful series to your life list.”—Christine Goff, bestselling author of the Birdwatcher’s Mystery series
“Five stars out of five stars for being a shining example of a beautifully written traditional British cozy.”—The Protagonists Pub
“If you like cozy mysteries in small English towns, you can’t go wrong with either of Marty Wingate’s series.”—Reading Reality
“Put the kettle on and settle into a well-crafted village mystery with a delightful new sleuth.”—Connie Archer, bestselling author of Ladle to the Grave, on The Rhyme of the Magpie
A fun cozy
Julia's cottage is being repaired, so she is staying at the estate house. The Hall is a busy place. Lord Fotheringill's son, Cecil, has returned home, with a friend. There is also a new estate manager. When Cecil's friend dies, Julia is once again on the case...with the help of her celebrity father and her boyfriend. Julia is trying to sort out her relationship with Michael in addition to finding a killer and keeping tourists coming to town. The second in the Birds of a Feather mystery series, Empty Nest is an enjoyable cozy and I liked forward to another addition to this series!
Second book in A Birds of a Feather Mystery series!
Empty Nest by Marty Wingate is the second book in A Birds of a Feather Mystery series. Julia Lanchester is thirty-seven years old. She changed careers recently. She used to be her father’s assistant (he is an ornithologist and hosts a show on BBC) Pipit Cottage (her home) had a severe mildew problem and she is staying at Hoggin Hall with Lord Linus Fotheringill (her boss). Julia the manager of the Tourist Information Center in Smeaton-under-Lyme. She also creates events to attract tourists to the hall and town. One evening Julia is enjoying dinner with Linus, Vesta Widdersham (co-worker and friend), and Akash Kumar (Vesta’s boyfriend) when Cecil Fotheringill shows up. Cecil is Linus’ thirty year old son, but he rarely comes home. He has decided it is time to learn about the running of the estate (about time) and he has brought a friend, Freddy Peacock, with him. Freddy and Cecil worked at the auction rooms in London together. The next day the new estate manager, Geoffrey Addleton, arrives. Dinners are starting to become something Julia wishes to avoid.
On the day of the cider festival, Julia finds poisoned birds in a field near the new estate manager’s cottage. Someone deliberately poisoned them. A few evenings later Julia comes home late (after being with her boyfriend, Michael Sedgewick) and smells a fire. She discovers a fire in Freddy’s room with Freddy on the floor. Poor Freddy is dead and he was poisoned. The main suspect turns out to be Cecil. He refuses to tell the police is whereabouts for that evening (for a very silly reason). Then Cecil’s mother, Lady Isabel Fotheringill (Linus and Isabel are divorced) shows up to help her son (she is overbearing and demanding). Julia starts looking into matters to try and clear Cecil for Linus (he is so upset and Julia is afraid he will confess to save his son). Then Julia starts to feel ill. Turns out she is being poisoned. It seems the killer does not like the questions that Julia has been asking. Will Julia be able to find the killer before the killer does in Julia?
In order to understand the characters and dynamics in Empty Nest, you really need to read first book in the A Birds of a Feather (otherwise you will be lost and confused). The book is told in the first person from Julia’s point-of-view. There are long sentences, a lot of rambling, and a very bumbling Julia. Julia is supposed to be a manager who is capable of running large events. The rambling and bumbling do not go with that description. The author did not provide a lot of clues nor was there much action during the majority of the book (except the murder). The mystery is not simple which makes the book more interesting. I am amazed at all the tea and food. It seems if you stop in anywhere, you get tea and treats (they must have had tea over 20 times in the book). It was like the author was trying very hard to make sure we knew they were in England where they have tea. I give Empty Nest 3 out of 5 stars. I do not believe this series is for me.
I received a complimentary copy of Empty Nest from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.