cover image Isabel Puddles Abroad

Isabel Puddles Abroad

M.V. Byrne. Kensington, $16.95 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-4967-2835-7

Byrne’s delightful if digressive third Mitten State mystery (after 2020’s Isabel Puddles Investigates) takes Isabel Puddles on her first trip overseas, to visit pen pal and mystery author Teddy Mansfield, who lives outside a village in Cornwall, England. While out on a solo walk with Mansfield’s two corgis, Isabel falls into a shrub, inadvertently letting go of their leashes. The dogs take off running and begin feverishly digging up Hyacinth Amesbury’s flower bed, uncovering her dead body. With an inexperienced inspector assigned to the murder case, Isabel involves herself in an investigation complicated by a strained friendship between the dead woman and Teddy’s sister over a lost love, a sabotaged scone Bake-Off in which Hyacinth won first place, and a growing list of suspects with a motive for murder. Despite fears that her life will remain tangled up in solving crimes, Isabel remains focused on sorting out who killed Hyacinth before returning safely home to Gull Harbor, Mich. Lively characters with serious personal flaws and vivid descriptions of Cornwall provide context and structure for a narrative largely focused on worldbuilding. Patient cozy readers will be rewarded. (Dec.)