One Will Too Many is a refreshingly no-frills whodunit, stripped of the cute gimmicks of many cozies or the suspenseful action of a thriller, though Julia relishes her peppermint tea and throwing a log into the fireplace. Peterson tells much of the story through dialogue, a sequence of conversations between Julia and her contacts as she teases out clues, motives, and her latest findings. That talk is engaging, and Julia’s clever piecing together of the crime a pleasure, though the narrative’s not particularly urgent–besides having been “practically there when it happened,” Julia doesn’t have a clear compelling reason for cracking this mystery herself. In this outing, she’s somewhat subdued as a character, despite a fascinating career and a love triangle that’s mostly on the backburner.
That said, Peterson brings satisfying detail to Julia’s “serious sleuthing,” with the medical expertise of Julia and her colleagues coming into play more than once, and the niceties of inheritance law and the distilling of grog providing a basis for surprises. This unadorned mystery with a clever protagonist will bring readers on a twisty journey through inheritance law.
Takeaway: A cozy mystery that avoids the quaint, this refreshing change of pace finds a doctor investigating murder.
Great for fans of: Kelly Oliver, Jonathan Gash.
Design and typography: B
Marketing copy: A