Friday, April 17, 2020

Book Review and Giveaway - Murder in the Secret Maze (A Tory Benning Mystery) by Judith Gonda

My Review

Murder in the Secret Maze is the start of a new cozy mystery series featuring landscape architect Tory Benning. When we first meet Tory, she is marrying Milo, the man of her dreams -- but he vanishes right after the ceremony. His disappearance comes right after her father's sudden passing and Tory channels her grief into solving the mystery of what happened to her husband. The mystery involves a maze at a luxurious hotel, and Tory is helped in her detecting by her lifelong best friend.

I wanted to read this mystery because I was intrigued about the secret maze. I know very little about landscape architecture, but find it interesting, so that was appealing too.

This is a solid start to a new series. Tory is established as a character, and readers get to know her friends and relatives too. She even has a lovable Pomeranian dog named Iris! 

The mystery aspect of the story was well done and it kept me guessing right up to the resolution. There were several plausible suspects, and Tory did a good job pursuing clues.

Tory actually was so obsessed with the mystery that I was taken a bit aback a few times, like when a gypsy fortuneteller entertainer is dying in front of her and she pulls out her phone to take pictures of some clues. She also seems more focused on the mystery at times than with dealing with her feelings about her father and newly disappeared husband. 

The pacing is particularly strong;  the book moves quickly and the various mystery storylines flowed together well.

I think Murder in the Secret Maze is a strong start to a new mystery series, and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

Book Synopsis

First in a new series featuring California landscape architect Tory Benning!

Landscape architect Tory Benning knows the lay of the land, but she’ll have to dig through the clues to unearth a killer . . .

After a whirlwind romance and a glorious wedding at the luxurious Hotel Santa Sofia, Tory Benning is ready to let down her hair, slip into her dancing shoes, and celebrate—until she discovers that her newly minted husband has vanished. The police suspect cold feet and second thoughts are behind Milo’s disappearance, but Tory’s certain he’s met with foul play. And since she designed the plush resort, she knows every nook and cranny of the grounds and adjoining secret maze, and wastes no time delving into her search.

As clues begin to emerge that Milo may have taken his last breath in the maze, Tory steps up her sleuthing, even as she learns she’s the prime suspect of a cop with a chip on his shoulder and is squarely in the sights of a menacing stalker. And when a second body is found on the grounds, Tory fears she’s up against a killer determined to silence any and all who get in the way. .

Not to be deterred, Tory forges ahead, navigating a case with more twists and turns than the maze itself, until the labyrinth of clues leads her to shocking revelations about her husband, her family, and the identity of a killer who’s dead set on making her the next victim . . . .

Author Bio

Judith Gonda is a mystery writer and Ph.D. psychologist with a penchant for Pomeranians and puns, so it’s not surprising that psychology, Poms, and puns pop up in her amateur sleuth mysteries featuring California landscape architect Tory Benning.

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1 comment:

Judith Gonda said...

Thanks so much for the lovely review! Abby is adorable! And the BGT video is amazing! I had a female Dachshund growing up that I loved so much. She even let me paint her nails.