Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for A Messy Affair by Elizabeth Mundy, the third book in the Lena Szarka Mystery series. Thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour and to Constable for my review copy via NetGalley.
About the Book
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.
Format: ebook (288 pages) Publisher: Constable
Publication date: 2nd January 2020 Genre: Crime, mystery
Find A Messy Affair on Goodreads
I really enjoyed the previous two books featuring Lena Szarka, In Strangers’ Houses and A Clean Canvas (links from the title will take you to my spoiler free reviews), however A Messy Affair can also be enjoyed as a standalone read.
Readers unfamiliar with the series should be warned the books contain scenes of heavy duty cleaning and unrestrained use of dusters, mops and other dirt fighting weapons. And beware the wrath of Lena if you pronounce her name to rhyme with ‘cleaner’ rather than as it should be. However, if you get on her right side, she may just reward you with her special formula for removing limescale from shower heads or her mother’s recipe for dumplings.
You may have gathered from this that Lena is quite a character. With an eye for detail, whether that’s dust on a skirting board or lipstick on a glass, Lena is never happier than when she’s cleaning and listening to the comforting purr of the vacuum cleaner. As she says, “Cleaning is the best time to solve crime. It frees up your mind to new possibilities.”
Once again, it’s Lena’s extended family that draws her into investigating a crime. At least it’s something to keep her from pining for love interest PC Cartwright or worrying about unfinished business with previous adversary, Yasemin Avci. Thankfully, Lena has a useful new ally in the shape of ex-journalist Mrs Kingston with her network of contacts. The book’s satisfyingly multi-layered plot, peopled with plenty of suspects, is set against the backdrop of contemporary, multicultural London.
Spanning the shiny world of reality TV and the decidedly grubby world of internet dating, A Messy Affair is another polished, sparkling crime mystery from the pen of Elizabeth Mundy (Ed: That’s enough of the cleaning references now.)
In three words: Lively, engaging, mystery
Try something similar: Madam Tulip by David Ahern
About the Author
Elizabeth Mundy’s grandmother was a Hungarian immigrant to America who raised five children on a chicken farm in Indiana. Elizabeth is a marketing director for an investment firm and lives in London with her messy husband and two young children. She writes the Lena Szarka Mysteries, featuring a Hungarian cleaner as detective.
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