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Murder at the Mena House by Erica Ruth Neubauer (book review)

Goodreads Synopsis

Egypt, 1926. Fiercely independent American Jane Wunderly has made up her mind: she won’t be swept off her feet on a trip abroad. Despite her Aunt Millie’s best efforts at meddling with her love life, the young widow would rather gaze at the Great Pyramids of Giza than into the eyes of a dashing stranger.
But her plans get messed up by charming Mr Redverse… and a murder.

Thursday Quotables Meme

I suppose I just have to come to terms with the fact that although I like the idea of the cosy mysteries, most cosy mysteries are not written for me.

Take this one. It is a nice read. I did read the entire book, and it was a pleasant experience. It reads very easy, it kept me good company.
I chose it because of the unusual setting, 1920s Cairo and I have to admit the author did her best to give us a glimpse of the city at the time. Though I have to say that what characterised the town felt a bit pressed onto the story. For example, there’s a chapter about an excursion at the pyramids. Though I did enjoy reading it because it gave me an impression of what the pyramids looked like almost a century ago, I don’t see what it did for the story, since there wasn’t advancement neither in the romance nor in the mystery.

My problem with cosy mysteries, I’m coming to realise, at least most of the historically set that I’ve read recently, is that they are basically romances with an attempt at some mystery.
This was the same. The romance was really the main plot of the story, and though I can hardly judge since I’m not a romance reader, it seemed a bit confused to me. I did like the two characters, they are both nice and sympathetic, there’s good chemistry between them, but it seems like the author created unlikely complications for their relationship. I mean, even I know that romances need complications, but I think that if they had been a bit more substantial, I might have sympathised with the romance a little more.

he mystery was a total mess. It was totally unlikely. There was no reason why Jane and Redverse should start investigating the murder, and the investigation was chancy at best, based on non-existent clues and deduction. I dragged in the middle, as the romance took centre stage, and the end was illogical and felt a lot like an afterthought.
But again, this is probably more my problem than the story, since I took up this cosy mystery thinking it was a ‘mystery’.

It is a nicely-written story, with spank and an intriguing cast of characters. It’s probably a good one for romance readers, but mystery readers may end up finding it not really what they expected.

Murder at the Mena House


He nearly towered over me, and I was not a small woman by any standard. I eyed him, one eyebrow cocked, wondering how he had discovered my name before any introductions had been made. Perhaps he had some magic at his fingertips. Another shiver trickled my spine.

“Well, you’ve pulled my name from a hat. Will you be performing any new tricks this evening? Pull a coin from my ear, perhaps? I could use one to pay for this drink, frankly.”

One corner of his mouth turned up. “Your aunt mentioned you when she introduced herself to me just now.”

“That was fast,” I muttered, and cursed my inattentiveness. I wasn’t at all surprised that my aunt had sniffed him out and them sent him over – especially once she realized he wasn’t wearing a wedding bend. Which I cursed myself for noticing also. I was just surprised she had managed to do it so quickly.

“I’m afraid no further tricks will be forthcoming.”

“Well, that’s a disappointment.”

“All I can offer you in exchange for your loss is another drink.”

A full smile hit his already handsome face, and I gave myself a small shake and a stern lecture on the perils of men while he turned and gestured to the bartender. He order another gin rickey for me and a glass of water for himself.

This time, when my drink appeared, it was generously poured. Too generously. I would have to take it slow or I would find myself zozzled and lying beneath a table.

“No drinking?” I eyed his water, tiny drops of condensation making their way to the bar from where his long fingers rested on the glass.

“I had a long day in the sun,” he said. “Sticking with water seems a safer bet.”

The Thursday Quotables was originally a weekly post created by Lisa Wolf for her book blog Bookshelf Fantasy. It isn’t a weekly post anymore, not even for Lisa, but just like her, I still love to share my favourite reads on Thursday and I still use the original template which included an excerpt.


  • Margot Kinberg
    Posted May 15, 2020 at 15:26

    I know what you mean, Sarah, about stories that are mysteries with romance included.Everyone is different about how much romance vs mystery they like. For me, if the romance is VERY GOOD, I don’t mind it in a story. Otherwise, I’m more of a mystery sort of woman.

    • Post Author
      Posted May 19, 2020 at 11:22

      Well, I’d say we are just the same kind of reader 😉

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