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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Death by Windmill: A Mother's Day Murder in Amsterdam by Jennifer S. Alderson is the third book in the Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery series. Lana Hansen and her mother have been estranged for the last several years, but when her boss and landlord invites Gillian along for the Mother's Day trip to Amsterdam, Lana must confront the strain between them. Lana thought the biggest hurdle she would have is dealing with her mother until one of her guests on the tour turns out to be the very woman that sent her journalism career directly into ruins. When the woman falls to her death from the top of a historic windmill, Gillian becomes the likely suspect, thanks to suspicious photos that show her pushing the victim. To save her mother, Lana has to catch the real killer and in the process determine if forgiveness is possible.
Mother's Day is a time to celebrate, but for Lana Hansen, this is a time to confront issues of the past by facing head-on the strain between her and her mom. As with the previous books in the series, Jennifer S. Alderson incorporates a personal connection to Lana and creates a notch in her journey. This time the personal connection is through her mother who has been accused of murder which turns the story into a journey for Lana to save her mother and learn if she could forgive her after all this time. The first two books went to Budapest and Paris; now Alderson sets the scene in Amsterdam with locations that serve as a backdrop and create stunning scenes. Alderson delves into the complex nature of mother-daughter relationships through the various characters by showing complex dynamics and telling a story about love and forgiveness. The plot is character-oriented versus focusing solely on the murder mystery with the relationship between Lana and Gillian being what drives everything forward. The story revolves around the mother-daughter dynamic with a dose of murder, a dash of complex relationships, and a helping of beautiful Amsterdam which makes Death by Windmill humorous, heartwarming, charming, and character-driven.