Beauty, Beast, and Belladonna
by Maia Chance
Berkley Prime Crime, 2016. 310 pgs. Mystery
It’s 19th century France, and variety actress Ophelia Flax has accepted the proposal of the rather gruff Comte de Griffe, but it was under false pretenses and she soon regrets it. While visiting his ancestral home she’s about to call the whole thing off when the money she’s saved for her trip back to America, along with her engagement ring, disappears. Her friend Henrietta assures Ophelia that if she plays along with the engagement for a little while longer (so that Henrietta can snag her man) she’ll pay Ophelia back double what she lost. Ophelia agrees but when a body shows up in the orangerie, and a local tale of Beauty and the Beast seems oddly relevant, Ophelia discovers that there is much more to the Comte’s de Griffe’s estate and village than any of the visitors realized.
This is the 3rd in the Fairy Tale Fatal mystery series, and I admit I haven’t read the first two books. It was an interesting twist on the classic Beauty and the Beast tale, and one that was an easy, light read, though I know there was some context I was missing out on. Despite that, I was able to follow the main storyline decently well. Fans of cozy mysteries and fairy tale retellings would most likely enjoy this series.