Just Make Believe
by Maggie Robinson
Lady Adelaide Mysteries - Book 3
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Release Date: July 14, 2020
Reviewed by PJ
Gloucestershire, 1925. A week-long house party in the country—why not? Lady Adelaide has nothing else to do, now that her year of mourning for her unfaithful husband is up and her plans to rekindle her romantic life have backfired. But when her hostess is found dead on the conservatory floor, Addie knows just who to call—Detective Inspector Devenand Hunter of Scotland Yard.
Dev may not want to kiss Addie again, but he's anxious to solve the crime. Who would want to kill Pamela, the beautiful wife of one of Britain's greatest Great War heroes? Certainly not her devoted and wheelchair-bound husband, Sir Hugh Fernald. The other guests seem equally innocent and improbable.
But despite all appearances, something is very wrong at Fernald Hall—there's a body buried in the garden, and the governess has fallen down the stairs to her death. Who's next? Addie and Dev find themselves surrounded by Scotland ghosts and must work together to stop another murder, with some help from Rupert, Addie's late and unlamented husband. Rupert needs to make amends for his louche life on earth, and what better way to earn his celestial wings than catch a killer?
I am having so much fun reading this series. Once again, Robinson has created an entertaining story with intriguing characters and murder mystery threads that kept me guessing throughout. Her characters are so well formed. She really brings them to life, along with the 1920's English countryside in which she places them. By the time I finish one of her Lady Adelaide mysteries, I haven't just read about these characters. I feel as if I've actually spent time with them and shared in their experiences.
In this book, Addie continues to evolve following the death of her husband though her potential relationship with Dev seems to have hit a wall. But, Dev's thoughts lead me to believe there may be a way over that wall in book four, especially after an unexpected twist near the end. I can't wait to find out! Then, of course, there's Rupert. I love the humor he brings to these books and how Robinson has gradually evolved him as well, without losing his mischievous nature. There's hope for Heaven yet.
The surrounding cast is as vividly portrayed, and well formed, as the main characters. A few familiar characters from previous books make appearances and it was fun to see the twists and turns of their journeys. I'm eager to find out how Addie's sister's story progresses in book four, along with the unexpected turn of their mother's life that is unveiled at the end of Just Make Believe.
If you enjoy fast-paced, cozy mysteries with vibrant characters, well-placed humor, and twists and turns that keep you guessing, all set within the madcap 1920's, look no further than Maggie Robinson's Lady Adelaide Mysteries. These books can be read on their own but to fully appreciate the growth of the characters, and their relationships, I strongly encourage you to read the books in order. They are Nobody's Sweetheart Now, Who's Sorry Now, and Just Make Believe. The fourth, and final, book in the series is due to be released during the summer of 2021.
Q&A with Maggie Robinson
Welcome back, Maggie! Congratulations on the release of Just
Make Believe, book three in your Lady Adelaide Mystery series. What should
readers expect from this new Lady Adelaide adventure?
Thanks so much, PJ! It wouldn’t be a release day if I
weren’t a guest at the Romance Dish. Addie’s a guest, too--at a country house
party. But it’s hard to have fun when you fall off your horse, your hostess is
poisoned, and a body is discovered buried in the garden. Fortunately Addie
knows who to call, and it’s not Ghostbusters, although ghostly Rupert does
assist. Detective Inspector Devenand Hunter is on the case!
You create a wonderful sense of time and place in these
novels. What is it about 1920’s England that inspires you?
England in any decade inspires me, but I’ve always been
drawn to the years between the world wars, when just about everything was in
upheaval. The possibility for trouble is endless, which makes it an ideal era to
set books in. And the clothes are fabulous!
There are so many delightfully mysterious twists and turns
in this book. I admit, while I managed to guess a few, others eluded me right
up until the reveal. I love when an author accomplishes that! How do you keep
track of all the threads you interweave into these mysteries?
Everybody’s guilty till proven innocent! When I start to
write, I rarely know myself “whodunnit.” I’m awful at plotting and being
organized, and am in absolute awe of writers who have every chapter outlined. I
never know what’s happening until my fingers get tapping. I burden my poor
characters with lots of secrets and lies, and let the worst one slowly rise to
the top. In the case of Just Make Believe, I wasn’t sure until I was
half-way through who the villain was going to be. Then I had to go back and
make sure I dropped the breadcrumbs in the appropriate places.
I have so much fun watching Addie and Dev (and Rupert) work
together (reluctantly, in most cases) to solve the murders in these books. Who
are the amateur sleuths and professional inspectors you most enjoy?
I grew up in a suburb of New York City in the Dark Ages
(I’m pretty old, tbh), where the local television stations specialized in
showing old black and white movies from the thirties and forties on the
weekends. I loved the Thin Man movies, especially for Asta, since I had a
wire-haired fox terrier too. (And so does Addie!) I have a dim recollection of
glamorous clothes, dancing in nightclubs, and a lot of drawing room confession
scenes which no doubt imprinted themselves on my developing brain. Never a
Nancy Drew girl, I was an avid reader of the Judy Bolton Mysteries, though I
can’t remember a single one.
Being somewhat more mature now, I’m a huge fan of the
contemporary Ruth Galloway Mysteries by Elly Griffiths, and the historical
Charles Murray of Letho books by Lexie Conyngham. Lynne Messina’s Regency Beatrice
Hyde-Clare books are a hoot, a nice mix of romance and detection. P.F. Chisholm’s
Sir Robert Carey novels are chock-full of 16th century history and
derring-do. And of course, Agatha Christie is simply a goddess.
The final page of Just Make Believe has me eagerly
anticipating the next installment in the series. When can we expect another
Lady Adelaide mystery? Are you able to tell us anything about it?
The title is Farewell Blues, and it’s just that—time
to say good-bye to Addie, Dev and Rupert in the summer of 2021. I had very
mixed feelings ending the series at four books, but it didn’t seem fair to
Rupert to expect him to be on his best behavior indefinitely. 😉 The
gang gets together one final time to prove that Addie’s very prim and proper
mother did not kill her secret ducal lover, and I wouldn’t be a lapsed romance
writer if everyone did not get their happy ending.
What books are you looking forward to reading this summer?
I have A Duke, A Lady, and a Baby by Vanessa Riley on
my Kindle and will reward myself once I’ve planted 50 daylilies and made a stab
Let’s do a summer speed round.
Favorite summer drink: Lemonade. Or if I’m feeling
exceptionally frisky, a vodka tonic with lemon. Lemon is the key to everything.
Green or brown thumb: Green outdoors, brown inside. Never
give me a houseplant. I will murder it. I have a small but great, three-level terraced
garden which takes up more time and energy than I have.
Beach/Lake or mountains: We sold our lake house, so I’d
have to say I’m just as happy in my own backyard as anywhere.
Favorite summer food: Boneless barbecue chicken on the
grill and a green salad with too much poppyseed dressing. Or maybe a lobster
roll followed by a piece of blueberry pie. Now I’m really hungry.
Favorite summer tunes: The Beach Boys!
Thanks for visiting with us, Maggie! Do you have anything
else to add? Would you like to ask our readers a question?
Besides reading, how are you all managing to keep your
spirits up during the pandemic? I escape to the garden, but those weeds are right
there rebuking me.
I’ve got a signed trade paperback of Just Make Believe
(or any book from my backlist) for a commenter!
*Must be 18
*Winner randomly chosen from comments posted by 11:00 PM, July 15.
I definitely have to read the series. I'm looking forward to starting book 1 . Besides reading I have been going through closets and drawers to donate the things we don't West anymore and after the lockdown, Can't fit into. 😊 I blame it all on the extra baking & eating.ReplyDelete
Oh, Carol. I haven't done any extra baking yet somehow my scale screams when I step on it. My husband did buy a bread machine tho but so far the loaves could double as bricks in a murder case.Delete
I hear you, Carol. I haven't been baking much but the combination of both my fitness center and our complex pool being closed plus my recent discovery of the fabulous organic strawberry ice cream at Publix is not doing my weight goals any favors. ;-)Delete
Sorry, it should say "wear" not "West" .ReplyDelete
PJ, thanks so much for the fabulous review, and opportunity to be here again! LYGReplyDelete
Always a pleasure to host you, Maggie. I am enjoying your Lady Adelaide Mysteries so much. I'm now suffering the dilemma of wanting time to fly so I can read book four next summer while at the same time wanting time to crawl because I don't want to say goodbye to these fabulous characters!Delete
Congratulations! Sounds amazing!ReplyDelete
Thanks! It *is* amazing, LOL.Delete
What a wonderful escape. The era, the story and the mystery would be delightful. During this time I walk daily since the weather is ideal and I walk all year round where I live. I decided to clear out a great deal of clothing and household items which have been taking up space.ReplyDelete
I need to do something about my closet too. I thought I got rid of a lot of stuff when we moved last year, but obviously not enough!Delete
I've dropped off so much stuff at Goodwill lately they all know me by name. lolDelete
Congratulations on this fascinating mystery which would be greatly enjoyed. The period and the setting in this series is so appealing and interests me very much. Initially I was taking care of my two grandsons, 6 & 8 everyday. Activities, learning, reading etc. which was rewarding and enjoyable. Now I can devote time to other pursuits. I read, and enjoy getting out early each morning for a long walk in the foothills.ReplyDelete
We moved closer to one of my daughters so we could help with our 12 year old granddaughter last summer, and the worst thing about this pandemic is not having her come after school with her friends. Seeing her almost every day was such a joy. We still FaceTime, and she still comes over occasionally, but it's not the same. :(Delete
I can't wait to read this! I loved the previous book in the series, and I'm sad to see that after this one there will be only one more.ReplyDelete
So glad you've enjoyed them! They were the most fun to write of anything I've ever done.Delete
The book sounds wonderful, and I love the time period. I can't wait to read it.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Liberty!Delete
Hi, Maggie-Margaret--longtime fan--great interview! What's next on your agenda--a new genre, or a return to your fabulous historical romances? Best Wishes for all releases!!!ReplyDelete
Thank you so much! I'm kind of partial to mystery laced with a little romance, so that's probably what's next. I've got an idea percolating, but haven't even contacted my agent yet. Fingers crossed that it all goes well!Delete
I now have to get my hands on the first in this series and get caught up before #4 comes out!ReplyDelete
The first book came to me in a flash, and took only 2 1/2 months to write, a record for me. Book 4 wound up taking a year (!!!) but I had quite a few interruptions. Go grab it, Gram!Delete
I spend a lot of time doing needle arts-projects I have wanted to do but couldn't find the time to do them.ReplyDelete
I also spend time with my 2 dogs trying to teach them some new tricks
I used to do crewel embroidery, but my eyesight, even after surgery, isn't good enough anymore. I miss it. :(Delete
Reading is helping to keep me sane...escaping into another world when this one gets especially stressful has always been my balm. Thanks for the offer! I would definitely like to read your series as I love mysteries with a hint of romance.ReplyDelete
Let's just make believe everything's different, LOL.Delete
I read the first book in the series, and have the second one on my Kindle. I fell in Love with all three of the main characters in the first book. I think poor Rupert is the best ghost I know.ReplyDelete
As for how I have staid sane. I have plants on my patio, and I have repotted, and fed and trimmed. There are only so many things I can do because there are a limited number of plants.
I have spent time looking out my kitchen door at the sky and wind in the trees and re-evaluating. I have realized that there are changes to be made. Sonny (my Pekingese) and I have decided that some things are not life shattering if they are not done. I will never be able to make his record of 23 hours of sleep per day. But, I am going to be spending more time reading books I love and less time worrying about what I "Need" to do.
Rupert thanks you! I do think plants/the outdoors helps. I can always find something to do in the garden, even if it's picking up dog poo! I worry about people who've been cooped up in small spaces without access to that sky and wind.ReplyDelete
I while away my time by Skyping with my sisters and brothers. Some are still living in England and two of my sisters live here, one in California and one in Texas. We lost one of our sisters two months ago, so we've all decided to spend as much time as we can talking to each other whilst we still can.ReplyDelete
So important to stay in touch with family. I'm sorry for your family's loss, but isn't it amazing that technology can keep the rest of you close. Here we've been doing a bit of FaceTime, especially with my 3 year old granddaughter. She's growing and changing so fast I can't keep up.Delete
I have been knitting & walking - not at the same time. Both relaxing. Govt sanctioned walks of course.ReplyDelete
I can see you knitting and walking now, LOL. I was never patient enough to learn to knit/crochet, but when I see gorgeous yarn displays, I get quite envious!Delete
Maggie, thanks so much for visiting with us today. Wishing you all the best with Just Make Believe. Can't wait to find out what you have planned for Addie next!ReplyDelete
Smooches, PJ! I'll check back tomorrow--am heading off to bed with a good book!ReplyDelete
This book sounds awesome! I was not aware of this series, I'll be checking them out and putting on the wish list. I'm surviving the pandemic by reading of course. Thanks for the chance to win.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Martha!Delete
I've been enjoying my first veggie garden in almost 10 years. And reading of course. Reading always helps!ReplyDelete
We have tomatoes, peppers and blueberries growing here. We used to have huge gardens, but that was when we were younger and could bend over better, LOL.Delete
I am jealous of the blueberries!!! My hubby built a raised garden this spring and it is a small jungle with cantaloupe trying to take over the tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, and herbs. LOLDelete
I read a lot and watch old movies! lindaherold9999(at)gmail(dot)comReplyDelete
I've been watching old movies and TV shows too. Right now I'm going through the Miss Marple series on BritBox. I'm familiar with all the books they're based on and have seen different versions, but I still can't remember who the murderers are, LOL.Delete
Hugs, Maggie! Reading is the top of my list. Also taking walks, either by myself or with someone else in the family :)ReplyDelete
I need to get more exercise for sure. I can't walk my dog because he walks ME!Delete
LOL!! Many of our friends and neighbors have dogs, and I'm sure that would change the tenor of walks greatly!!Delete
Besides escaping into the world of books, I have been enjoying exercise classes via Zoom: Aerobics, Zumba, and Tai Chi. These classes help me to feel like I'm not just sitting around all day.ReplyDelete
One of my daughters does Zumba. I should definitely look into something, LOL.Delete
The first two chapters on Amazon are amazing! Now I want to read this so much.ReplyDelete
Susan in AZ
Thank you, Susan! I want you to read it so much too! ;)Delete
I love the sound of this series. It does remind me of Agatha Christie's work. The atmosphere of that period is special and a nice place to visit. My husband and I are/were very active volunteers. Most of that has been terminated and meetings are on zoom. I miss what we were doing, but it will start back up again one of these days. Travel has also been a no no, so here we sit. It really isn't a complaint. My poor gardens have been neglected , some more than others, for years. I have one that is 100 feet long and it has been neglected the longest. I have used the time to work on the gardens. Poison ivy and other vines had taken over several of them. I have managed to clean out two that were overrun and have them planted. I finished 2 near the house yesterday. The ones around the base of the house were the first done, except for mulching. There is a 45+ foot one between the house and garage which is almost weeded and ready to plant. That leaves the 100 foot one which is going to take a lot of work to tame. The weather has turned too hot to work much of the day making it hard to get much done. Once the gardens are done and while it is hot, I can start digging into the stuff that has accumulated inside over the years. I see truckloads going to the thrift stores and a homeless program we support. I don't like the reason we are self isolating, but it is valuable time at home to work that I have really needed.ReplyDelete
Oh, wow. Sounds like you have your work cut out for you! The woman who put in our garden in 2015 (we bought the house last July) planted a ton of perennials, and somehow got compost/mulch at a landscaping company that really discourages weeds. Of course, there are still plenty to pull up, and I'm training my 12 year old granddaughter to recognize them and yank!Delete
You’re amazing Maggie. I’m sorry about the lake house but happy you still have a garden to keep you entertained. Congratulations on the new release.ReplyDelete