Mystery

Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door by Barbara Ross

I have read and reviewed the first book in the series : here

It is, as always, a very satisfying experience to be greeted well by the second book in a series. The first book had potential, I liked the overall presentation, but it felt stilted at times. The author has since found the correct voice for the flow of the narrative to feel more natural.
Jane Darrowfield is a professional busybody with a card and everything. She does not have people beating down her doors for consultations, but a steady trickle of issues keeps her occupied. Her personal life is something she is starting to fix, but pieces of the past continue to trouble her. Although I got a better picture of what those issues were, nothing much was resolved in that area. I guess it might be handled in better detail in the next.
The plot itself is unique and very appropriate to the kind of business that Jane runs. Her neighbour is afraid that there is something wrong with her. She needs an unbiased (because Jane does not know her or even spoken to her before that moment) person to watch and see if she is imagining things or if she should seek proper professional help (which would be detrimental to her career prospects).
This is the innocuous and slightly sinister beginning. There are a lot of red herrings and painstaking investigations on Jane’s part. I was firmly invested in the wrong suspect for much of the book, having moved from the actual culprit (who I randomly guessed initially). I like such books because it has me invested in every following chapter. I highly recommend this series to those who like Cozy mysteries and are weary of the too casual ones that are more frequently available. This is a steady paced book with a serious protagonist who has a professional outlook on her processes, even if she goes around calling herself a busybody!
I would definitely be picking up the next in the series.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.

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