Murder at the Priory Hotel (A Flora Steele Mystery Book 4)

Written by Merryn Allingham
Review by Fiona Alison

The fourth in the Flora Steele cosy mystery series sparks into action, with almost no preamble, as opening day for the recently refurbished Priory Hotel meets with disaster when the lead singer of the hired band is electrocuted. When the chief inspector is called away, the investigation falters, leaving Flora and her handsome crime writer friend Jack to delve into the case themselves, unearthing slimy talent agents, band members’ delinquent backgrounds, simmering hostility, and rumours of missing girls. A keen amateur sleuth, Flora is like a dog with a bone once she settles on helping her proprietor friend, who has sunk every last penny into the now-infamous hotel.

This is an entertaining mystery in which the crime takes a back seat to the delightful protagonists. The world of the mid-1950s is well portrayed, and the many occasions in which food plays a part serve as pleasant contrast to the memory of the austere post-war years. There’s an added attraction for those who like a bit of romance, as it looks as though Flora and Jack are becoming more than just friends.