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.
What I Thought:
I was thrilled to see a third instalment of the Lena Szarka mysteries, as I reviewed A Clean Canvas, the second book, a little while ago.
As with that book, A Messy Affair is contemporary mystery with the twist that Lena can get to places other detectives can’t reach, as nobody ever looks twice at the cleaner. Lena uses her profession, and her no-nonsense Hungarian roots, to solve the murder of a reality TV star, who was seeing her young cousin – unfortunately Sarika has NOT inherited Lena’s savvy!
The mystery is really well written in this book, as there are lots of twists and turns, as Elizabeth Mundy expertly presents several promising suspects, all with valid reasons to do away with Terry Tibbs. The resolution is dramatic and pacy, and you’ll fly through the final few pages.
In this book, I particularly liked the development of Lena’s relationship with PC Cartwright, which had been introduced in the previous novels. Although this part of the plot might make you want to read the series in order, you’re not really missing out if you read A Messy Affair first.
Overall, this is an excellent addition to the Lena Szarka (Layna, not Leena!) series, and I’m excited to see where her nose for trouble, and her cleaning business take her next!
A Messy Affair is published by Constable.
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Please note: I was sent a copy of A Messy Affair via Netgalley for review purposes. All opinions are, as ever, my own.