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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
Homicide by Hamlet is the third book in the Chubby Chicks Club Cozy Mystery series written by Lois Lavrisa. At a camp for young thespians, Dr. Annie Mae Maple is leading one of six groups in a competition where Hamlet must be performed in their own unique fashion. With spiteful and toxic bully, Priscilla Woodham, leading another group, it takes all of Annie Mae’s strength not to slap the woman every time a barbed word comes out of her mouth. Priscilla does not have a single friend at the camp, having found a way to insult and scorn every leader and student, including her own personal assistant. When Priscilla winds up dead, the suspect pool is huge. As unsurprising tales of blackmail, bribery, and insidiously evil behavior unfold, evidence first piles up against Annie Mae’s dear friend, Bezu (former girlfriend of Priscilla’s fiancé), before suspicion shifts to Gerald Gill (a man who has been trying to woo Annie Mae), but there is one more suspect that seems to have been overlooked, who is neither camp leader nor student. With Annie Mae fast closing in, it is not long before the killer decides that life is better with her out of the picture as well.
From the very first page, I was hooked on this murder mystery with a twist. Each of the characters was so rounded and well written that I was able to easily relate to and identify with them, with the exception of the narcissistic camp bully who, although well written, was supremely toxic. Even with the vital detective work going on throughout most of the book, Lois Lavrisa successfully continued the normal camping storyline in the background, giving the story a more realistic feel. With almost everybody having a means, motive, and opportunity to kill the not-so-dearly departed, the plot thickens more and more with each turn of the page. I very much enjoyed Homicide by Hamlet and intend to seek out the other books in the Chubby Chicks Club Cozy Mystery series. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to readers who enjoy action, drama and a hefty dose of intrigue and justice served up with their murder mystery novels.