The Readaholics and the Gothic Gala by Laura DiSilverio is Book 3 in the author’s Book Club Mystery series. Normally, I try to avoid starting a series any way other than with Book 1, but this one intrigued me enough to pick up the newly released (8/2/16) third book. What was it about this title that had me abandoning protocol and diving right into Book 3, you ask? The simple answer is: “Rebecca”! The title Readaholics are reading and discussing the du Maurier classic, which is one of my favorites. I was pleased to see that, during the course of the story, the club actually meets and discusses “Rebecca”. In addition, the main character thinks about the classic story throughout her adventures.
Other highlights from The Readaholics and the Gothic Gala include:
- The main character, Amy-Faye Johnson, is an event planner, and her main event for the duration of this book is a series of events that make up the Gothic Gala celebration. I had a general sense of the definition of gothic fiction before reading this book, but I actually learned a good bit more by following the events of the Gala. The information flowed naturally, however, and never felt like factual overload.
- Laura diSilverio includes lots of current pop-culture references, which gave the book a modern feel. I particularly enjoyed the fact that I share several common popular interests with Amy-Faye (and/or Laura DiSilverio).
- The suspects and red herrings were plentiful. My initial guess for “whodunit” was not correct, but not entirely wrong, either. When the “big reveal” occurred and all was made clear, everything made sense and fit with the previously provided clues.
- Starting a series with Book 3, as expected, left me playing a bit of catch-up with the characters. However, I was able to quickly figure out the major players, and was never left feeling that I really *should have* read books 1-2 first. I definitely plan to go back and catch up, and have already ordered book 1 (The Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco).
- Although the author does not rehash (or spoil) the events of the previous books, Amy-Faye does reference things that have happened and mysteries she has been involved with before. I liked this and found it added realism to the character. After all, if someone has been involved in any way with a murder investigation, that person would certainly think about it going forward, especially when faced with another crime.
- The character of Maud is a delight! My favorite Maud moment comes when Amy-Faye reads aloud a note that was attached to a projectile directed at the group. Maud’s first comment is, “I hate sloppily used pronouns with unclear antecedent references.” I look forward to seeing more of her in future books!
Overall, I have to say that I really enjoyed this cozy mystery. Five out of five yummy slices of aged British Cheddar!