Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Words Can Kill (Ghostwriter Mystery Series) C.A. Larmer

The protagonist of the cozy mystery series Ghostwriter Mysteries is Roxy.  She authors books for other people, leaving her name off the cover, and leaving the fame to the name author, in exchange for a comfortable living.  Unfortunately adventure and mystery stalks mild-mannered wordsmith Roxy Parker, who is:
...the first to suspect foulplay in any situation.
Luckily Roxy is also an investigative journalist, so she is well-equipped to track down the truths and to resolve the mysteries.  Most of her stories occur in her native Australia, peppering the books in the series with wonderfully entertaining Aussie-isms (for non-Australians), dry humor, and stunning scenery.  However, book 5 in the series takes Roxy to the Italian Riviera for some equally stunning scenery.  

The author explains the change in scenery for Roxy:
My husband and I took our boys to Europe in 2013 and the Cinque Terre was one of our most cherished destinations.  We stayed in the heart of Riomaggiore for four days and loved every minute of it. While there I decided I just had to bring my protagonist Roxy Parker back.  It's such a magical place and I knew it would lend itself to a vibrant and colourful mystery.
Roxy's mystery is not just vibrant and colorful, it is mysterious and life-threatening for someone very close to her.  TIP:  Avoid the book's description if you want enjoy Words Can Kill to its fullest.  Paired with Caroline, a compatriot who is the complete opposite of Roxy, there are laughs and conflicts that lead both women to grow and groan along the way to resolving the mystery.

Along with the cozy fun, we get an accurate depiction of a ghostwriter's precarious career.  Part of the entertainment of this cozy series is that Roxy gets to change her scenery and associates quite often, at least with every new writing contract.  That keeps the stories fresh, and saves the population of her hometown from massacre, unlike the unlucky inhabitants of Jessica Fletcher's Cabot Cove (reference: TV's Murder She Wrote).

The books in the Ghostwriter Mystery Series to date are:
  1. Killer Twist
  2. A Plot to Die For
  3. Last Writes
  4. Dying Words
  5. Words Can Kill
  6. A Note Before Dying

The books are well-written, well-edited, and presented stylishly with eye-catching covers.  Each book can be read as a standalone book, but to understand the recurring characters' relationships it would be best to read the books in order.  The cozy elements are all there, including a possible love interest for Roxy, whose mother has decided:
You're destined for spinsterhood...
Be ready for some real pain and danger for Roxy's loved ones in Words Can Kill, in which the amateur sleuth's emotions are put through a wringer.  But trust that Roxy's dogged determination wins out in the end. 

The Italian scenery and characters enrich the book for any Italophile; two thirds of the book takes place in Italy.  We get good and bad guy Italians, an exciting finish, and a meaty Epilog in which all the loose ends are wrapped up for the reader.

From the book's description (spoilers):
WORDS CAN KILL is the fifth stand-alone mystery in the popular amateur women sleuths series featuring sassy ghostwriter Roxy Parker.

Fasten your seatbelts for a cozy mystery ride through Europe — but remember, this ain't no holiday.
Hunky photographer Max Farrell has just vanished into thin air, his last sighting in the arms of a blonde floozy at a Swiss mountain resort.  Max’s estranged girlfriend Roxy Parker pretends she doesn’t care but when his flatmate shows up murdered, bludgeoned by his own guitar, and then the floozy takes a dive off a cliff on the Italian Riviera, she must face the truth at last—Max’s life is hanging in the balance and she is his only hope.

Where is Max?
Who killed his Berlin flatmate?
And what the hell was he doing with that blonde in the first place!

In the latest Ghostwriter Mystery (each one a stand-alone story in itself), Roxy Parker packs her designer luggage and heads to Europe on a quest to find the man she wishes she didn’t love.  With his uber-trendy, self-absorbed sister, Caroline, by her side, Roxy must follow a series of tantalising clues that take them from the heights of Mt. Pilatus to the azure Mediterranean Sea encountering brash German police, secretive Swiss soldiers, and an Italian lothario to die for.

Here are direct links to all the books in the series at

Please visit the author's website and blog.

This review is by Candida Martinelli, of Candida Martinelli's Italophile Site, and the author of the cozy-murder-mystery novel AN EXTRA VIRGIN PRESSING MURDER, and the young-adult/adult mystery novel series THE VIOLET STRANGE MYSTERIES the first book of which is VIOLET'S PROBLEM.

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