Sunday, March 29, 2020

Murder in the Catacombs (A Bohemian Lake Cozy Mystery, #15, Penning Trouble, #4) by Rachael Stapleton and DeAnn Howe

Murder in the Catacombs (A Penning Trouble Mystery, #4)Murder in the Catacombs by Rachael Stapleton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Penny Trubble wins an all-expenses-paid trip to Paris for herself and a group of friends, the gang from Bohemian Lake packs up and sets off on a private jet to be wined and dined in luxury. Naturally, all is not what it seems, and soon after arriving in the City of Lights, Penny is separated from the rest of her group while sightseeing, abducted, and dragged down into the Paris underground: the catacombs.

There she meets the wealthy Simone Lantz, the person behind the trip, who wants to retain Penny’s investigative services to locate her missing granddaughter. Simone fears that Michaela is being held against her will until her grandmother agrees to bankroll her son-in-law’s local occultist group trying to find their way to the lost city of Agartha, supposedly located deep within the core of the Earth. Reluctantly, Penny agrees to help because one of the people involved in this ‘Hollow Earth’ group is none other than the man that stole a valuable coin and family heirloom from the Vianus back in Bohemian Lake, Jocelyn Godwin.

Returned to her friends, the first stop that evening is a fashion show being held by Blanche and Sascha Saunier, Michaela's mother and father, and Penny plans to do a little snooping. However, she spots Godwin and before she can formulate a plan to figure out why he’s involved, Simone is shot and Eve is the most likely suspect. They hotfoot Eve away from the show and return to their hotel only to find that their rooms have been searched. The friends pack up their belongings at the hotel, just steps ahead of the police, and Maurice, Simone’s assistant, relocates them to a safer, guest house that Simone owns.

Compounding things, Sera Popescu and her coworker, Hans Dressler, who are supposed to be in Paris as well have gone missing. Now Penny and the group must not only find Michaela, but rescue Sera and Hans, and now Simone has disappeared, too.

Murder in the Catacombs follows closely on the heels of the previously published book in the series, Hyde & Seek, and nicely wraps up some of the details of the adventures begun in the Bookish Adventures in Witch-Lit thread. As with all the Bohemian Lake Cozy Mystery books, the action is non-stop and the dialogue is snappy. Many of the characters that give the series its unique charm are featured in this one and we get to see a little more of the various couples’ relationships: Penny and Cody, Mallory and Kaden, and last but not least, Eve Banter and Ren Trubble (Penny’s father.) Although this is Penny Trubble’s story, Eve Banter plays a major role and her current beau, Ren, is a delightful foil to her craziness. This book wraps up one of the mysteries from the Bohemian Murder Manor storyline and is the final Penning Trouble book.

Because the storylines are heavily entwined, the Bohemian Lake Cozy Mysteries are not standalone books and should be read in order beginning with the first book. However, they are quick, easy reads, each interesting and fun and well worth the time to catch up.

I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving a free copy.

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