The Mystery of the Lost Husbands by Gina Cheyne

I’m really excited to be part of my first book blog tour for The Mystery of the Lost Husbands, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.

From the blurb…

Is murdering husbands an addiction or merely a bad habit? This is the question facing Private Investigator Cat Harrington when rich builder, Tom Drayton, dies shortly after his wedding night. Suspicion falls on his widow, Anastasia Rodriguez, the survivor of three previous ‘lost’ husbands. Two years later, Anastasia is engaged again, to Cat’s friend Angelo, an Italian snail collector. Angelo’s sister, Gia, employs Cat and the SeeMs Detective Agency to discover if her brother’s fiancé is a killer. The search for Anastasia’s lost husbands takes Cat and her team from Scotland to the South of Spain and on to Argentina. They have just a few weeks before the wedding to discover if Anastasia is a murderer and save their friend from becoming victim number five.

As you can see, this was a mystery I couldn’t pass up!

SeeMs Detective Agency comprises of three differing, but interesting, characters – Cat, Miranda and Stevie. They are amateur detectives, whose past cases often consisted of finding missing dogs, so a multiple murder case was something they were keen to get their teeth into. You can’t help but get swept up in the investigation, and due to their down-to-earth, relatable characteristics, you often feel like you are part of the SeeMs team too.

The storyline intrigued me from the off – multiple mysteries in one, working out whether Anastasia had murdered her ‘lost’ husbands, all of which died in different, suspicious circumstances. You are introduced to Anastasia through both flashbacks and letters she has written, getting to know her background, but also establishing her potential motives. I liked these time-slips between Anastasia’s youth, her later life and the present day. They allowed us to see things away from the Detective Agency’s gaze and provided a more personal insight into her life and background, some of which could bring a tear to your eye, allowing the reader to see that whatever happened, it was not as clear-cut as it first appeared!

As well as finding out about Anastasia’s past, you also get glimpses into the detectives’ lives, both present day circumstances and their background (again, not all happy memories), which gives these characters more depth and helps the reader understand the possible reasons for their responses to situations or the actions they take. As this is the first in the series, I imagine more will be revealed in later books.

As well as time-slips, the story moves to a variety of locations, as the detectives begin to look for both Anastasia, but also connections to the deaths of her husbands. As the story progresses, more characters are revealed, some with information, some with motive – at times this did get a little confusing, but I let that wash over me, as one of the detectives would often feed back to the rest of their team, allowing the reader to have a round-up of their discoveries. Feeling like part of the SeeMs Detective Agency, as they asked each other questions, or began new lines of enquiries, this guided my thought process as to what had happened to the ‘lost’ husbands.

I really did enjoy the book, as it was easy to read and I was keen to find out the what had happened to the husbands. However, sometimes there was too much overt, and potentially unnecessary and random, detail (e.g. Do I really need to know that someone is wearing an M and S shirt?) which slowed the pace. I was also a little disappointed with the reveal at the end. I felt there had been a lot of build up and so much detail had gone into the clues and information, that when the climax happened it was over in a flash. I would have liked to have had more of a focus on this to increase the tension and keep me gripped to the end.

Saying all that, I think if you enjoy a good murder mystery, with an interesting and unique plot, you should give it a try.

The author…

The Author, Gina Cheyne, became a writer because her first love was always ‘telling a good yarn!’ Under the name Georgina Hunter-Jones she has written illustrated children’s books such as The Twerple who had Too Many Brains, and Nola the Rhinoceros loves Mathematics. The Mystery of the Lost Husbands is the first in the SeeMs Detective Agency series and Gina’s first crime novel for adults.

Her life and experiences have inspired The Mystery of the Lost Husbands, even to the extent of including a version of her beloved pet in it (the lovely dog Biscuit). During her lifetime, Gina has worked as a physiotherapist, a pilot, freelance writer and a dog breeder. She has looked after horses at a racing stables and, for a few years, was a wing-walking pilot, a helicopter instructor and examiner! Many of which helped to flavour both the plot and the characters within!

This mystery was inspired by a builder in Gina’s village talking about a friend who had lost half his company when his brother and co-owner died on his wedding night and hadn’t made a will. When asked what happened to the wife, the builder said, ‘Long gone, he was her fourth.’ Gina was so intrigued, she wrote the possible story of her life.

Find out more about the author Gina Cheyne here.

The book can be purchased from Amazon.

Further blog tours can be found at Rachel’s Random Resources.

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