Red House was fun and intriguing whodunnit mystery, third book in series that should be read in order, with interesting, sassy and fun characters.
Red House (Jess Bridges Mystery #3) by Joss Stirling
Publication Date : November 27th 2020
Publisher : One More Chapter
Genre : Mystery / Crime Fiction
Pages : 400
The compelling new mystery featuring Bridges and George has them taking on a haunting new case that will leave them doubting their judgement, and even their own eyes and ears.
When the body of a Russian millionaire is found dead in the grounds of a grand home in Oxford, DI Leo George immediately suspects foul play. The death once again brings him into contact with Jess Bridges, an investigator of missing persons with the uncanny knack for sniffing out trouble, and just as often the cause of it herself.
Housesitting in the empty property next door, Jess is drawn into the investigation and the pair soon realize that there has been a nasty feud festering behind the grand facades of Oxford’s elite homeowners. When another body is found, Leo and Jess find themselves pulled into a mystery that will take them to a very dark place, and bring them closer than they have ever been before…
Previous book I read in Series
Black River (Book 1)
White Horse (Book 2)
*** Disclaimer : I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to One More Chapter. ***
Red House was entertaining whodunnit mystery that revolved around body found in central north Oxford, an affluent and quiet area in terms of crime, near the Red House where coincidently Jess has just moved in as house sitter. (She has a way to get involved in all cases Leo is leading, right?)
The story was about business rivalry between Russian Oligarchs, nosey neighbours, socialism and yet conservative thoughts and behaviour, political connections, diamonds, money, and past secrets.
Writing was like previous books engaging, fun, filled with Jess’s humour and sarcasm, and medium paced in comparison to previous books. It was written in third person alternative perspective of Leo and Jess. We don’t see Michael’s perspective as frequent as previous books.
It started with Leo arriving at most affluent and crimeless area of central north Oxford where gardener unearthed body buried for more than a year in the garden of Russian oligarch who wasn’t seen around for around a year. On digging up (not body of course) few things and through hunch, Leo discovered the body indeed was of house owner, Anatoly Chernov who had serious feud with backdoor neighbour and owner of the Red House, Akmal Gulom from Uzbekistan.
Jess was taking a break from missing person investigation due to past events, had taken an administrative job at St. Nicholas filling the gap of mother on maternity leave, had move out of Corry’s house considering their safety and taken the job of house sitter at the Red House for extra cash and accommodation.
That’s right murder next door and living in the house of victim’s rival hardly was going to keep her out of the case. It was interesting to find out who killed Anatoly, why Leo and his team was having hard time contacting victim’s family or Akmal and his family, what caused the rivalry, and what was the motive- a rivalry, political hit, family dispute, or something else.
Characters were interesting and realistic. There were so many characters like previous book. I worried Michael might not get over Jess after reading hint of his more than friendly feeling but now that was cleared with relationship between Michael and Corry.
I so loved seeing development in Jess and Leo’s relationship. I’m not going to describe Jess and Leo any more. If you’re following my previous book reviews of this series you must know Jess was reckless, lively, and sassy with heart of gold while Leo was opposite of Jess -serious and organised.
Now that they got closer because of current investigation we see change in them. Leo apologised for what he did at the end of previous book, got over his reluctance, trusted Jess with his troubled childhood and current situation with his narcissist mother; while Jess who was impulsive and not following stages of relationship actually took things between them slow. Leo got stability in her and we see the side of her, her past that wasn’t revealed in previous books. Both handled each other’s past maturely and I loved how it strengthened their bond.
This book made me smile and laugh so often. I enjoyed Jess’s idea of dealing with Leo’s narcissist mother. I liked reading description of Red House and surrounding area, history of rivalry and family dynamic. All those business and political things went little over my head. I had to google Salisbury hit. The layer of socialism but conservative nature of people was well portrayed.
Case of Anatoly’s murder was much more complex. Due to lack of contact and so much time passed and no solid evidence made it steady paced. Twist and turns came gradually and not everything I could see coming, most of them managed to surprise me. I had idea who was the culprit at around 50% of the book but Like Leo I was slight wrong in guessing and was blinded by likability.
Climax was action packed, adrenaline filled and tense. I liked Jess’ move and loved her even more for making jokes in situation she was in. End was great but I still wasn’t satisfied. Here is why-
Why 4 stars-
It was a bit unbelievable to understand the motive for murder because as per Leo’s guess after finding evidence in Red House I still don’t understand the madness for revenge.
And this I later realised while thinking about the book – characters corelated end of Orient express with the case here so it might be a bit spoiler if you haven’t read book/watched movie.
Overall, Red House was fun, intriguing, and complex murder mystery with interesting characters. I highly recommend this book if you’re fan of author, whodunnit mystery, sassy and fun character.
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