Monday, September 27, 2021

Review of The Shady Chateau (Julie Cavallo Investigates) by Ana T. Drew


Welcome to the review tour for The Shady Chateau, another installment in Ana T. Drew's charming Provence Cozy Mysteries series! Today I have an excerpt for you as well as my thoughts on this story. Be sure to follow the tour for more. Leave questions and comments for the author along the way. And best of luck entering the giveaway!

Beware, dressing up as Napoleon can get you killed!

Provence baker Julie Cavallo and her grandma sign up for a Napoleonic re-enactment at a nearby chateau. The event includes theatricals, war games, and costume balls — all courtesy of the host and pillar of the local community, Baron Gustave Cordes d’Auzon.

What a welcome break from baking and catering...
and from pining for a tall, dark, and unsociable captain of the gendarmerie.
Unlike the captain, the weekend guests at the castle love conversing. Some are so flamboyant they outshine even Julie’s badass grandma Rose!

It’s all fun and cosplay… until the lord of the castle turns up dead.
Three unlikely culprits plead guilty.
Each gives the gendarmes a different motive.
Each insists they did it alone.

Who’s lying? And why?
And who really killed the baron?

If you’re a fan of Murder on the Orient Express and country house mysteries, then you’ll love this book. It will regale you with a dogged amateur sleuth, a puzzling ensemble of suspects, and a tangled web of lies.

Read an excerpt:
Stepping closer, I check if there’s a Hands Off sign anywhere near or on Napoleon’s papier-mâché bust. Satisfied that there’s none, I give in to every human’s impulse in the presence of an unusual object. I touch it.

I run my fingertips along the shoulders, then the chin, lips, cheekbones, and nose before sliding up to the iconic bicorne hat.

It’s painted in subtle shades of black that imitate wool felt to perfection. A revolutionary cockade—a red, white, and blue rosette fashioned out of ribbon—is pinned to the front. The cockade is cut from real fabric.

Naturally, I trace its outer red edge, then the blue circle in the middle, and then the inner white. To my surprise, my index finger meets a hard little button in the center of the white. Tentatively, I push it down, because… Because what else do you do when you find a button?

With a soft creaking sound, the bookcase behind the console slides away, revealing an opening the size of a door in the wall.

Holy cow!

Carefully, I step in.

(affiliate link)

**My thoughts**
I've been enjoying Ana T. Davis's Julie Cavallo Investigates series and like each subsequent installment better than the last. What I really got a kick out of with Shady Chateau was how much of an old school Agatha Christie vibe I got out of it.

You have a group of people playing dress-up and doing reenactments at an old chateau in the South of France when the host ends up murdered. A few people confess, though they are rather unbelieveable, and fingers point in all kinds of directions. The suspect list keeps changing as new information is revealed. Plenty of twists keep you engrossed in this quick cozy mystery and the identity of the true killer may surprise you.

It really is Agatha Christie with a contemporary twist (I'm still snickering over the "pink boudoir") and just the slightest touch of the paranormal/psychic. Your favorite other supporting characters return. We're still dancing around the gendarme romance. And the end provides some possible clues into the next installment, I think. I'll be eagerly awaiting that one so well.

Thank you to the author and Goddess Fish for my requested review copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Ana T. Drew is the evil mastermind behind the recent series of murders in the fictional French town of Beldoc. When she is not writing cozy mysteries or doing mom-and-wife things, she can be found watching “The Rookie” to help her get over “Castle”. She lives in Paris but her heart is in Provence.>>> Visit for a free cookbook and a game!







Ana T. Drew will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Due to tremendous amounts of spam, all comments are moderated and will be approved and published throughout the day.