Congratulations to Katie Gayle on the publication today, of Death at the Gates, the third book in the Epiphany Bloom Mystery series. Scroll down for my review of a cozy mystery in a series that is fast becoming one of my favourites.

Death at the Gates (Epiphany Bloom Mysteries #3) by Katie Gayle

Published  August 2nd 2021 by Bookouture

About the Book: Hurlingham House school is a high-achiever’s heaven, full of happy, hard-working pupils. There’s just the small matter of the dead body on the field… Sounds like a case for Epiphany Bloom!

When Epiphany Bloom’s best friend’s sister Claire is accused of trading exam papers for money, Epiphany agrees to see Ms Peters, the headteacher of Claire’s fiercely competitive school, to provide moral support. Claire has always been a model student and is loudly protesting her innocence: surely it’s all just a misunderstanding.

But when Ms Peters hears about Epiphany’s previous sleuthing exploits, she enlists her help to track down the true culprit!

Taking a job as a PE teacher, Epiphany soon realises she has plenty of suspects for the exam scam mastermind. The broke young teacher with a shady past? The father willing to buy his daughter anything – including grades? The school governor desperate to keep Hurlingham House at the top of the ranks?

Then Epiphany finds one of them dead at the school fair, and it becomes clear someone is taking the cut-throat culture of the school too literally – and when mysterious accidents start happening around her too, it seems the killer knows she’s onto them.

Can Epiphany solve the murder as well as clearing Claire’s name, before she becomes the next victim? This is one test she can’t afford to fail…

A charming and totally addictive cozy mystery with a hilarious and warm-hearted heroine. A must-read for fans of M.C. Beaton, Lee Strauss and Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series.

5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

This is the third book in the Epiphany Bloom Mysteries and it is as enjoyable and funny as the previous two. Once again, Pip is unemployed. After a fire at the clothing museum caused by her hiring a fire dancer for an event, she has been terminated. Pip is wallowing and sleeping, when her roommate and BFF Tim, asks for her help. His sister has been accused of cheating on an exam and could be expelled from her expensive and elite school. Tim and Pip head over to the school to sort it out and Pip gets herself hired to go undercover as the “sports teacher” and find out who is involved with stealing and selling exams. Throw in a murder, a runaway llama and the fact that Pip is one of the most unsportslike people around and you know you are in for some fun.

Pip is the best sleuth ever. She bumbles her way around, has one adventure or catastrophe after another, yet still seems to solve the crime. I love her creativity and ingenuity. The activities she came up with for both her PE classes and her investigation were a interesting. She is definitely plucky and doesn’t give up easily. Tim and Jimmy are both still around. Neither are a romantic interest, yet, but they are both great friends. And Pip’s mom seems to have a beau, which helps to keep her off Pip’s back. Her sister, Fliss, didn’t get much airtime in this one, but when she was in the story, her malapropisms continued. There were a few I chuckled at, but I loved her insistence that the correct phrase is “Well, you could knock me over with a fender.” When Pip insisted it was feather, she responds, “Don’t be silly, Pip. It has to be a fender. You couldn’t know someone over with a feather.” Then we have the police officers who really don’t have a clue what they’re doing. “Good thinking”, said Goodall. “We don’t want civilians turning over bodies and trampling all over the evidence, make a mess of things. That’s our job.” There were several secondary characters including students, teachers, the head teacher, secretary and parents that all add to the story and make viable suspects in the exam scheme and possibly the murder. I will say I had figured out the culprit of the murder partway through, but the why was interesting.

I will say that there is a great mystery, but also a lot of fun. This is a series you can’t take seriously, just sit back, read and enjoy. I love seeing what Pip is going to do next and what Fliss’ next verbal mishap will be. Will there be romance in Pip’s future? How long with she remain working at Hurlingham House? I look forward to every new book ready to laugh as well as solve a mystery. If you are looking for a cross between a cozy mystery and a humorous caper, pick up this series, you will be highly entertained. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.

Purchase Link: Amazon

About the Author: Katie Gayle is the writing partnership of best-selling South African writers, Kate Sidley and Gail Schimmel. Kate and Gail have, between them, written over ten books of various genres, but with Katie Gayle, they both make their debut in the cozy mystery genre. Both Gail and Kate live in Johannesburg, with husbands, children, dogs and cats. Unlike their sleuth Epiphany Bloom, neither of them have ever stolen a cat from the vet.