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Carter Fielding
Murder in the Medina

Adult; Mystery/Thriller; (Market)

Finley Blake thought a plum assignment in Tangier would be the perfect chance to grab some girl time with her sister, Whitt. But when a crew member from an action movie being filmed locally falls to his death, Whitt and Finley must put their heads together to figure out whether it was an accident – or murder. While in Morocco, Finley Blake, a young travel writer still reeling from a painful breakup, and her sister, Whitt, are caught in a web of human trafficking and murder. They must decide whether to play it safe or help a handsome Interpol agent uncover the pieces of the puzzling mystery that will put the murderer behind bars. Travel through the streets of Rabat, the alleyways of Tangier and the medina of Casablanca with these intrepid sleuths. This next in the series of Blake Sister Travel Mysteries follows Whitt and Finley into the Kasbah for their meeting with death and a Tangier take-out.
In this lively cozy mystery, travel writer Finley Blake uses an assignment in Tangier to meet with her Manila-based sister Whitt, and the pair find themselves navigating murder and romance when a member of a film crew sharing their hotel is bizarrely killed. Meanwhile, Finley has an awkward reunion with her former lover, Max, while Whitt is initiating a possible new romance. As they vacation and sleuth, a mysterious stranger follows the sisters, a vaguely sinister hotelier makes demands, and a police inspector pursues his own agenda, before the sisters untangle the many motives to bring a killer to justice.

Fielding's protagonists are delightful and engaging, and the warm relationship between Finley and Whitt comes across as very real. Also nicely presented are the various romances, especially Finley's on-off situation with Max, which builds to a satisfying and surprising resolution. The low-key Inspector Evans, who subtly woos Finley, also makes an enticing suitor. The film crew adds suspects and a dash of glamour to the escapades though they aren't as fleshed out as the protagonists; as a result, their motives, and some elements of the main plot, can at times be hard to follow. Still, the adventure moves along at a quick pace with plenty of local color.

Indeed, half the fun of the book is the Moroccan setting, which Fielding presents in lavish detail: "Men sat at tables that blocked half of the narrow alleys, drinking fragrant mint tea …The smells of mint and coffee and spices and ripe fruit made an intoxicating blend." The local cuisine is a consistent pleasure, and readers even get a visit to a recreated Rick's Café from Casablanca. Fielding also offers a welcome soupçon of history, which enriches Finley's exploits without overwhelming the plot. The appealing sister sleuths and the unusual setting guarantee that readers will want to finish the mystery in a single sitting.

Takeaway: Fans of the traditional cozy will find much to like between these sister sleuths and detailed North African setting.

Great for fans of: Anne George’s Southern Sisters series, A.R. Kennedy’s Traveler Cozy Mystery Series.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: B
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: B+
Marketing copy: B+