Must Read Cosy Mystery – “Deadly Intent” by Laraine Stevens

Book review for you:

Title: “Deadly Intent”

Author:  Laraine Stephens

Publisher: Level Best Books/Historia

Year:  2020

Category: Crime/Cosy Mystery 

Reviewed by: Sarah Jackson

Entertaining from start to finish

Having worked his way up to the position of Senior Crime Reporter for Melbourne’s The Argus newspaper, Reggie Da Costa is looking for the next big story. And, perhaps more importantly, the next big fashion, and that fabulous young heiress he needs to support him, before he ages beyond appeal. 

Much to his disappointment, Reggie is assigned to report on the aftermath of a series of storms which have flooded several areas of inner-city Melbourne. While snooping in the basement of a damaged building, Reggie discovers the remains of a murdered wealthy widower, Cornelius Stout. He jumps on the case and quickly realises that there are a string of unsolved murders of wealthy single men. Reggie, with the assistance of sensible school ma’am Dotty Wright (and this is a story in itself) works to uncover the mystery with the occasional help of Melbourne’s underworld and the local constabulary. 

Reggie da Costa is a charmingly flawed character. He is the definitive peacock, a dedicated follower of fashion and more than a bit of a ladies’ man. Aside from his journalistic aspirations, his heart’s desire is to win the love and wealth of a young, beautiful, well-connected heiress who will keep him in the lifestyle with which he hopes to become accustomed. We all know and love a Reggie, they usually wind up sleeping on your sofa for weeks at a time when their latest relationship flops. But it is not just Reggie, all of the characters are believable, some likeable and many relatable, be they his long-suffering mother, cad of a father, gruff media and police associates, society belles, or underworld connections. Each offer that special something to Reggie’s life, and add colour to the story.  

Stephens’ descriptions of 1920s Melbourne transport you to the era. You feel a part of the sights and sounds of the inner-city life, imagining every street, scene, and person with great detail. 

The plot builds smoothly, with many twists and turns and engaging sub plots. You are kept on your toes right up until the end. And it is more than just solving the crime; you need to know if Reggie sorts his family relationships, and which poor girl he draws into his world. The chapters are short grabs, making the book easy to read and hard to put down.

“Deadly Intent” is the second instalment in the Reggie da Costa series. It reads as a stand-alone novel, but I must admit that if I wasn’t reading this book for the purpose of review, I would have immediately put it down and sourced the first one. This is such wonderful fun and super read for anyone looking for an entertaining escape.

I thoroughly enjoyed this story and loved pretty much everything about it. If you enjoy cosy mysteries like the works of Kerry Greenwood, you will love “Deadly Intent” by Laraine Stephens.

I received a free copy of this book through Sisters in Crime – Australia, in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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