Kylie Logan’s League of Literary Ladies Mystery Series is the next in the series of entries that I am doing about the most recommended Cozy Mystery series on our monthly recommendations lists. Kylie Logan (aka Miranda Bliss & Casey Daniels) has written four books in this series with the last coming out this year (2016). Mayhem at the Orient Express, begins this series on a very strong note.
“Mayhem” introduces us to Bea Cartwright who has just opened a Bed and Breakfast (the Bea & Bees) in the small town of Put-In-Bay on South Bass Island which is twelve miles from the Ohio shore of Lake Erie. As the name implies, Bea hopes to have beehives in the backyard of her six-suite huge Victorian bed and breakfast.
The story opens with Bea and her two neighbors, Kate and Chandra (who are all 30-something), arguing in Mayor’s court about their various disputes. Bea is upset that Chandra allows her cat to run free to ruin Bea’s flower bed; Kate is mad at Chandra for playing music too loudly and chanting in her backyard. Chandra, who changed her name from Sandra, is somewhat of a free spirit. Kate also is complaining about Bea’s construction vehicles clogging up the small lane that runs to all of their houses.
Alvin, the mayor, finally decides to force the three women to learn to cooperate by ordering them to meet weekly in a book group. (This is an example of one very terrific community service!) This also conveniently saves the mayor’s wife’s public library that is in danger of losing funds from a bequest that required there be an active book group for the funds to continue.
Naturally, at the group’s first meeting, the neighbors are joined by an older woman, Luella (who actually wants to be a part of a reading group), they decide to read Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, which foreshadows what will happen soon at the island’s new restaurant, the “Orient Express”. By the following week’s meeting, a blizzard has begun that had already closed the airport and the ferry. As expected in a murder mystery story, soon there is a murder (I guess I mean “mayhem”) at the “Orient Express” restaurant. And, everyone is stuck on the island with a murderer on the loose!
The blizzard leads to a power outage that knocks almost everybody’s lights and heat out on the island. Except, Bea’s bed and breakfast has an emergency generator (that works for a remarkably long time). So, before you know it, all the potential suspects and what will become the members of the “League of Literary Ladies” are all staying at the Bea and Bees.
This book is written in the first person from Bea’s point of view. It’s what I would call an old-fashioned page-turner. The setting (the island on the lake) is picturesque and unique, and the characters are different but not too zany. (You may know by now that I am not a fan of over-the-top zany.)
As is normal in a modern Cozy, there is a hint of romance that presumably will continue into the other books in the series. (No spoilers here!) The story is full of interesting twists, and it includes a secondary mystery about Bea’s past that is not solved fully in the first book. So, it creates a need to get going on reading book two!