A Messy Affair by Elizabeth Mundy
Publishing Date: 2nd February 2020
Series: Lena Szarka Mysteries #3
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!
Number of pages: 400
The only way is murder…
Lena Szarka, a Hungarian cleaner working in London, is forced to brush up on her detective skills for a third time when her cousin Sarika is plunged into danger.
Sarika and her reality TV star boyfriend Terry both receive threatening notes. When Terry stops calling, Lena assumes he’s lost interest. Until he turns up. Dead. Lena knows she must act fast to keep her cousin from the same fate.
Scrubbing her way through the grubby world of reality television, online dating and betrayed lovers, Lena finds it harder than she thought to discern what’s real – and what’s just for the cameras.
Lena Szarka is a full – time cleaner in London, very prone to land herself in situations that end with crime. This time it’s about her cousin Sarika’s boyfriend, Terry Tibs, who is also a reality TV star. He’s found dead in a hotel room, in very suspicious circumstances, and Lena has to put all of her detective skills to good use in order to find out what has happened to Terry.
The main character Lena was really well written. I liked the way she was, ambitious, observant, calm and level – headed. She took pride in her work and always took great care to be there for her clients, to accommodate all their quirks and wishes, often having to use her crime – solving talents at the same time. I admired her talents for getting the information that she needed, and not only because she was a cleaner, and yes, people tend not to notice cleaners, but she was also clever and was able to draw conclusions.
This is the third book in the series and even though I haven’t read the two previous ones, and even though you could immediately tell that the characters’ have their background, their past and that they had some adventures together, it was easy to get into the heart of the story. I think it was because of the lovely, wry and down – to – earth writing style that is also easy to get along with. Elizabeth Mundy’s writing is incredibly vivid, chatty and the descriptions are rich and eloquent without over – powering you with its eloquence.
It was a lovely, comfortable and cosy read but I needed more from it, more depth, complexity and challenge. The author has added some twists and turns but they were not of life – changing quality and altogether the book was for me more cosy than complex. Sure, it kept me guessing but not in that desperate way, I didn’t have to know immediately who and why. It was probably because of the supporting characters that were not as deep as I’d like them, and the stories surrounding them felt a bit too easy. And I couldn’t stand Lena’s cousin, I’m sorry, but this character has mostly ruined the book for me – a whingy, egoistic and self – centred girl that thought the whole world should run around her. Altogether, “A Messy Affair” was an enjoyable, easy read that made me curious about the whole series. It was quirky, refreshing and had an memorable heroine.