After traveling to Bethesda for a mystery writers' conference, Jessica Fletcher decides she's earned a vacation and takes a train to Columbia, South Carolina, to visit her old college friend Dolores, who has recently married her third husband, Willis Nickens, a wealthy and cutthroat businessman. They've moved into an opulent historic home with plenty of space for guests, and Jessica is ready for a week of shopping, gossiping, and relaxing at the grand estate.
But the morning after she arrives, Jessica discovers Willis facedown in the koi pond, and despite what the police think, she's sure foul play is involved. She hadn't known Willis long, but it's clear to her that he didn't concern himself with making friends. The question isn't if her friend's husband was murdered, but by whom.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Murder, She Wrote: Killing in Koi Pond by Jessica Fletcher and Terrie Farley Moran is a 2021 Berkley publication.
In this 53rd installment, Jessica is on one of her many trips away from Cabot Cove. This time she’s off to South Carolina for a small vacation, where she plans to visit Delores, an old college friend.
Delores is blissfully happy in her third marriage, but her happiness is short lived, when Jessica discovers her husband, Willis, dead in the Koi Pond. Jessica immediately suspects foul play, but unfortunately, she has a hard time convincing law enforcement to dig a little deeper. But once it has been established that Willis was indeed murdered, there seems to be no shortage of suspects….
This is Moran’s first book in the MSW series, and it is the first book I’ve read in the series since 2018. If you are wondering if that is a coincidence- it’s not- and we’ll just leave it at that.
I am so happy the writing is back within the cozy format, and Jessica’s character traits are back to normal.
While I want the series to retain the charm we grew to love through the television series, and keep all the recurring characters, and their unique personalities and mannerisms pretty much the same, in that regard, that is not to say Jessica must stay in her quaint 1980s bubble.
Moran brings her up to date a bit, technology wise, while remaining true to everything else we love about this series- and I think it's about time.
Another thing that is back to normal is the pacing. If you remained loyal to the series, even after Donald Bain's death, you might need to adjust yourself back from the tempo of a thriller to the stride of a cozy- but that's as it should be- and I for one am happy to see the author reign that back in.
When it came to the plot and execution, it is possible Moran played it a little too safe. There were a few warbles, but overall it was a solid mystery.
I’m quite pleased with this addition to the series. Hopefully, I can go back to auto adding MSW to my TBR list again!!
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