Name: A Date to Die For (The Hopgood Hall Murder Mysteries #1)
Author: E. V. Hunter
Number of Pages: 268 (Kindle)
Published: February 3, 2023 by Boldwood Books
Genre: Cosy Mystery, Mystery
The start of brand-new Cozy Crime series! Welcome to Hopgood Hall.
An unlikely duo…
When investigative journalist, Alexi Ellis, falls victim to cutbacks, she and Cosmo, her anti-social feral cat, head for beautiful Hopgood Hall, where they plan to lick their wounds in the boutique hotel run by her old friends, Cheryl and Drew Hopgood.
A missing woman…
But when she arrives Alexi discovers Cheryl and Drew both distraught. Their close friend, Natalie Parker, who recently settled in the area, has gone missing. Alexi’s sure the woman has just taken a trip somewhere, but she still has a nose for a story and agrees to look into it.
A case to solve!
So too does ex-Met Police detective turned private eye, Jack Maddox. Natalie Parker had been using his sister’s online dating agency and Jack needs to find her before his sister’s business is ruined.
Reluctantly, Alexi, Jack – and Cosmo! – join forces to find out what happened to Natalie. But soon they discover secrets that someone desperately wants to make sure are never revealed!
A Date to Die For is the first in a new cosy crime series and one that I enjoyed.
Cosy crime is something I’ve been enjoying recently but most of what I’ve read has been set in historical periods. This has a contemporary setting which I really liked. It made a refreshing change to read something set in modern times. The setting in question is a luxurious boutique hotel, Hopgood Hall, in an idyllic countryside location. Think a grand old hotel made into a luxury venue, surrounded by picturesque cottages and grand homes, horse trainers and stables, and you’re there. Like I said, totally different from my usual reading choices.
Into this setting comes Alexi. She is a journalist taking time out from the city after losing her job and feeling betrayed by someone she thought she could trust. So, without further ado, she and her marvellous once-feral black cat Cosmo find themselves at Hopgood Hall at the invitation of Alexi’s friends Cheryl and Drew.
The mystery begins as Cheryl confides about the disappearance of her other friend, Natalie. It’s totally out of character for her to abandon a work commitment and vanish without trace, so Alexi agrees to use her investigative skills to try and find out what has happened to Natalie.
Also interested in the disappearance, private investigator Jack Maddox. It’s his trade, but he also has a vested interest in finding out the truth about Natalie’s disappearance in case it has links to a dating agency run by his sister.
And so our duo, ably assisted by Cosmo the cat, quite a character in his own right, and always a scene-stealer, delve into the rather murky goings-on that are hidden by the polished façade of such a lovely setting. This got a little darker than I initially imagined it might, as discoveries about Natalie and her life and past dealings come to light, but I enjoyed each twist and reveal as each piece of the puzzle came together to create a tangled picture of betrayal and revenge.
With a well-paced plot, a lovely modern day setting, a mystery just waiting to be solved and some likeable characters to discover the truth, I had great fun reading the first in the Hopgood Hall mystery series. The next book in the series, A Contest to Kill For, has just been published and this is definitely a series I’d consider returning to when I want another cosy mystery to enjoy.