The Wedding Plot by Paula Munier
Mercy & Elvis Mysteries #4
The Wedding Plot, USA Today bestselling author Paula Munier’s fourth Mercy Carr mystery, finds Mercy and Elvis at a deadly Vermont wedding.
Love never dies a natural death…
When Mercy’s grandmother Patience marries her longtime beau Claude Renault at the five-star Lady’s Slipper Inn, it promises to be the destination wedding of the year. Just as the four-day extravaganza is due to begin, the inn’s spa director Bodhi St. George disappears—and Mercy’s mother Grace sends Mercy and Elvis to find him. But what they discover instead is a stranger skewered by a pitchfork in the barn on the goat farm where St. George lived.
As Mercy tries to figure out who the victim is and where St. George is hiding, the bride and groom’s estranged relations gather for the first of the pre-wedding festivities. Long-buried rivalries and resentments surface—and Mercy realizes that they’re all keeping secrets that could tear both families apart. When Elvis interrupts the escalating melodrama to alert Mercy to an intruder on the estate, she finds a wounded St. George in the cottage where she and Troy are staying. St. George is not who he says he is—but when he escapes from the hospital and disappears again, Mercy thinks he’s gone for good. With the wedding imminent and the families at each other’s throats, she decides finding St. George will have to wait.
The big day arrives—but the danger is far from over. With the families and the festivities still under threat, it’s up to Mercy and Elvis together with Troy and Susie Bear to stop the killer and save the bride and groom—before death do they part.
I really like Mercy Carr, formerly an Army MP and her bomb-sniffing Belgian Malinois, Elvis—a promise to his former handler to care for him. Highly trained and intelligent, Elvis is the star of the series, as well as her love interest, Vermont Fish and Wildlife Game Warden Troy Warner. He has a rescue Newfoundland Retriever mix, Susie Bear, who you just want to hug.
This entry to the series has Mercy participating (unwillingly) in her grandmother’s destination wedding at the luxurious Lady Slipper Inn, an over-the-top lavishly restored historical resort in the “Live Free or Die” state. Of course, the whole family is there and that is the problem, beginning with her mother, Grace, who is orchestrating the entire affair.
Mercy is thrown into the position of instructor for the wedding party’s yoga session, filling in for the missing spa director who is the manager of the adjacent goat farm, producer of award-winning artisan Cruyére cheese. But meeting Annie, owner and operator of the creamery, discovers with Elvis far more than a missing yoga instructor—a dead body. And it’s not the yoga instructor.
Nor will it be the only body Mercy and Elvis discover and as the wedding plans advance and guests begin arriving, complications set in.
I wouldn’t really call this novel a cozy mystery. I read the first and third (The Hiding Place), but still struggled with the sheer amount of characters. The main support character, Annie, was well fleshed and we did get additional background on Mercy. The Vermont descriptions were both delightful and terrifying, the storms enough to drive any Sunday driver into another state.
While the canines had an integral part of this narrative, it was the families of the wedding party and the clashes between them and their problem with Mercy and her chosen life path that took center stage. Finding and discovering ever-deepening and disturbing minutiae had the plot going in different directions, but always coming back to the next family conflict. Honestly, I thought the wedding would never happen.
The conclusion satisfies but the storyline bogged down for me this time to the point where it became slow going. No problem—Book 4 being a one-off for me. I’ll be looking for Book 5. I like the series and Mercy, Troy, and those amazing dogs.
“A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.” – Mignon McLaughlin
I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the author and publisher through @NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are my honest thoughts.
Rosepoint Rating: Three point Five Stars
Genre: Cozy Animal Mystery, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Print Length: 342 pages
Publication Date: July 19, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
The Author: PAULA MUNIER is a literary agent and the USA TODAY bestselling author of the Mercy Carr mysteries. A BORROWING OF BONES, the first in the series, was nominated for the Mary Higgins Clark Award, and was recently named the Dog Writers Association of America’s Dogwise Book of the Year. The second, BLIND SEARCH, pubbed in November 2019. The third, THE HIDING PLACE, will debut in March 2021.
Paula was inspired to write the series by the hero working dogs she met through Mission K9 Rescue, her own rescues, Newfoundland/retriever mix Bear, Great Pyrenees/Australian cattle dog mix Bliss, and Malinois mix Blondie, and a lifelong passion for crime fiction.
Paula also written three popular books on writing: PLOT PERFECT, THE WRITER’S GUIDE TO BEGINNINGS, and WRITING WITH QUIET HANDS, as well as the acclaimed memoir FIXING FREDDIE: A True Story of a Boy, a Mom, and a Very, Very Bad Beagle, and HAPPIER EVERY DAY: Simple ways to bring more peace, contentment and joy into your life.
She lives in New England with her family, her three rescue dogs, and a rescue torbie tabby named Ursula.
©2022 V Williams