Book Review: A Baffling Murder at the Midsummer Ball (A Dizzy Heights Mystery #2) by T.E. Kinsey

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Genre: Historical Fiction Mystery
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: July 27th, 2021
Pages: 318, paperback
Source: NetGalley

A locked room. A mysterious death. Just another gig for the Dizzy Heights.

When London’s finest jazz musicians, the Dizzy Heights, are booked to play the glitzy Midsummer Ball at a country house in Oxfordshire, they expect a weekend filled with flappers and toffs having a roaring good time.

But the festivities at Bilverton House take a turn for the worse when the group are stranded by a summer storm. And when a member of the Bilverton family turns up dead in a locked room in an apparent suicide, Skins, Dunn and Ellie realise this is going to be a much tougher gig than they thought.

But here’s the lick. What if it was in fact cold-blooded murder? And what if the killer is still at large? It’s up to the Dizzy Heights to once again put down their instruments and get improvising if they want to solve this confounding mystery.

I love T E Kinsey’s Lady Hardcastle series, and enjoyed Skins and Dunn in those books. I admit, though, that I’m struggling to enjoy this spinoff series as well as the original one. A Baffling Murder at the Midsummer Ball is the second Dizzy Heights mystery. Kinsey’s writing is witty, the characters are engaging, and the story well-told. I adore country house and locked-room mysteries, and this combines both.

But…

I figured out whodunnit about 22% of the way in. Normally, that doesn’t bother me too much, but since the quality of the writing is so high, I think I expected the puzzle to be a bit more, well, puzzling. 

The band and entourage comprise a large number of characters, which, in addition to the family and servants at the country house, sometimes made it hard to keep up. Also, some of the characters, such as Skins and Izzie, are called by both their given and nicknames by other characters. 

Spoiler question: How did the murderer know there would be someone by the study when the gunshot sounded?

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