"Killers to the left of me, hacks to the right, here I am...stuck in the middle without a clue." This is a taste of the wonderful sense of humor Kasey Michaels infuses into her protagonist Maggie Kelly in this second entry of the series after Maggie Needs An Alibi. If Maggie's frustration is peeking out a bit, it's no wonder. She has finally started to adjust to having the characters from her popular Regency era mystery series; Alexandre Drake, Viscount Saint Just, now calling himself Alex Blakely, and his sidekick Sterling Balder, brought to all too real, living breathing life, when she finds herself roped into attending a writer's conference, topped off with finding out Alex has entered himself in the cover model contest! Shenanigans, accidents and murder - Oh, My!
This book, for me, is primarily about the characters, followed by the mystery. Michaels' characters, including the secondary ones, are fresh and vibrant, no bland, lifeless personalities here. The emotions felt by the main characters are so understandable and relatable; Maggie's frustrations at herself for her creating the exasperating strutting, self-assured, perfect man Saint Just and Alex's confusion at what Maggie could possibly see in "Left-tenant" Steve Wendell. My favorite is the bumbling, bewildered, but lovable Sterling as he continues to adjust to modern colloquialism. And his stint at becoming a rapper you must read for yourself, I don't want to spoil one moment of the transplanted Regency gentleman's attempts at modern song. While Sterling offers a great deal of humour, it is his understated insights about his companions that gives the book its heart and soul. I also liked the touch of Sterling's first person accounts in the prologue and epilogue.
I was in need of a good, light, fun read and this book filled the niche perfectly. I wasn't sure if Michael's would be able to keep the same unique freshness and novelty as she had in the first book but, no need to worry on that front, she easily succeeds. The author is known mostly for her romance novels, which I have not read, but if you are looking for a cozy mystery with quirky, lovable characters, a completely unique twist and just a touch of romance than give this series a try. Do your self a favor and start at the beginning so you don't miss one delightful moment!