Cover Image: Castle Deadly, Castle Deep

Castle Deadly, Castle Deep

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Member Reviews

Bond is able to (once again) weave together a beautiful setting with great characters and an intriguing story (multiple mysteries anyone?) While the story did get somewhat convoluted in a few spots, it was an overall enjoyable read and great addition to the Dinner and Murder mystery series. Looking forward to the next one!
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3.5 Stars - Another Sophomore debut that left me hopeful for the series. After a slew of one hit wonders with disappointing second acts, its nice to have a couple of new series that are giving us satisfying second books. I really enjoyed the first in this series and while I didn't love this one quite as much, it was still very enjoyable and left me feeling hopeful for the next one. **Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Books for an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.** 

The setting is great for this series, a Castle in Illinois that hosts elaborate murder mystery nights, featuring professional actors who live on the premise. I actually missed the possibilities of the setting a bit in this one because a large part of it focused on a play being performed at the local playhouse (which I'm sorry was just not as cool as the setting we already have). Sooooo I didn't get as much of the Murder Mystery Parties as I wanted in this one, even though a murder does take place during one, they are mostly skipped over. Like the first in the series this one has a couple different mysteries happening simultaneously that could be or could not be related, with plenty of suspects and red herrings. 

This was a fun installment in the series, we get to see Nora's relationship with Dash continue in spite of some murky waters, the notorious twins make another appearance, as do several other secondary characters from the first book. My only real complaint in this one was the weird pacing in the last 30%, the climax in terms of the criminal happened way to soon/too fast so then conversely the denouement felt really long and drawn out. 

Definitely looking forward to the next in the series.
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The second book in a new cozy mystery series, and I love book books so much! Reading them in order helps with knowing about character development, but it isn't necessary to follow along with the story. This cozy setting is a 'castle'- built by an eccentric millionaire in the 70s near Chicago- that is used as a dinner theater. The owners and actors live in the castle and perform for groups of customers. In this book, the actors are also all involved in a civic production of A Doll's House. 

The main character, Nora, doesn't necessarily detect or solve the murders, but she and her fellow actors/ castle mates help one another to feel safe, and they are helpful when speaking with the local police. 

Not too grisly or cheesy- the perfect combo for a cozy book!
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I love the atmosphere that the author creates in this one! The catacombs beneath Castle Dark are just for show, created for the theater troupe's latest murder-mystery performance, but the murder that takes place there is genuinely unsettling for the reader. With a killer loose in the castle, unexplained noises coming from the library next to her room, and worries about her new romance, Nora has her hands full trying to figure everything out.  I read this one straight through and can't wait for the next book in the series to come out so I can spend more time with the characters.
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Nora Blake is an actress with a very cool job-doing murder mystery dinner theater while living in the very castle it's set in. For the Fall season, the mystery takes place in the catacombs, a place Nora finds extremely creepy even before a real murder occurs there during one of their shows. There is seemingly no motive for the murder of the well-liked man, which means Nora and her police officer boyfriend have to work twice as hard to solve the crime.

This was a fun read. The setting is excellent, lending itself to all kinds of mysterious places and spots for meet ups. The characters are all well-done, with even the three kittens named after the Bronte sisters being their own individualized selves. There is some great romance between Nora and her boyfriend Dash, and also between some other characters and their respective paramours. I also really enjoyed the acting aspects of the book, with Nora also in an Ibsen play.

If I had to find a negative, it's that the solution to the mystery comes a little early, which means the ending of the book felt like it dragged on a bit for me.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this read.  I love Nora and really enjoyed that her relationship with Dash had some realistic bumps in the road and they dealt with it in fairly sensible ways.  Ibsen's The Doll's House has long been one of my favorite plays and I would not be surprised if it is one of the author's favorites as well as she very much brings it to life.  I loved adding in the community theater as a natural way to bring in new characters from the town that surrounds the castle.  

The town of Wood Glen is delightful with a number of interesting stores and baked treat mentions that made me wish I had a snack at hand!  While I did  love the parts in town and meeting the new characters my favorite was when the castle and the castle's residents had page time.  I did miss the focus on the dinner theater but Nora's adorable kittens the Brontes got enough page time that it almost made up for it.  

Between the play, the dinner theater, Hallween decorating, kittens, family visits, and money problems the mystery did at some points seem to drift to the back.  I loved the other things enough that it didn't bother me in the slightest but this might be better if this series is read in order so that you can really connect with the characters and the setting.  I don't think you'll be disappointed!
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Castle Deadly, Castle Deep carries a feeling of uncertainty - uncertainty towards other characters, towards the alleged treasure of the castle, towards how her boyfriend is acting - and it adds to the gothic spooky feeling of the castle atmosphere. 
The tragic murder of a cast member in the dark adds to the uncertainty - it has to be one of them who killed him, but who? And why? And despite herself, Nora is on the case again. This second book in the series is a solid, well developed installment that will please cozy mystery readers looking for a unique contemporary setting. The character development continues to go well and there's new characters added from the last book. 
Those who enjoyed Nora's adventures as an actress and amateur sleuth will be pleased with this book as it solidifies her strengths and continues to offer a fascinating mystery to keep readers on their toes.
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There’s just something about Veronica Bond’s Dinner and a Murder series that appeals to me. I don’t know if it’s the castle setting in a small town near Chicago. It might be that the actors in the Castle Dark theater provide a permanent cast of recurring characters, along with new actors. Or, it just might be the theater connection. But, Bond (Julia Buckley) brings actress Nora Blake, her friends and family to life in this entertaining cozy mystery series, including the latest book, Castle Deadly, Castle Deep.

Nora Blake loves her employers, friends, and fellow cast members at Castle Dark. But, their latest production in the Gothic castle makes her a little uneasy. They’re performing this one in the catacombs of the castle. Yes, she knows the props are only that, but there’s something spooky about the setting. And, on the first night of their Halloween production, when they’re entertaining fellow actors from the Blue Curtain community theatre, Nora stumbles over the body of a fellow actor. And, the entire cast was in a photograph before the production started, so Nora knows the killer is an actor in one of the two companies.

When Detective John Dashiell of the Wood Glen Police takes control of the crime scene, Nora isn’t happy. She and Dash had a hot romance in August, but now that she’s in the castle production and performing in Ibsen’s “A Doll’s House”, they don’t seem to have time for each other. Now, he’s partnered with an attractive detective, and Nora’s not comfortable with the state of their relationship. They seem stiff and uncomfortable around each other.

So, Nora doesn’t tell Dash that she’s hearing odd sounds in the small library next to her room in the castle. She does tell the Corby brothers, her employers, Derek and Paul, but they have financial worries and Derek is the director of both local plays. So, no one really takes time to address her concerns.

I’ll admit the lack of communication between Nora and Dash bothered me. I take my mystery characters seriously, and they should have both been mature enough to discuss their relationship. But, honestly? That just shows that Bond creates believable characters because, as a reader, I’m invested in them. I like Nora, Dash, Nora’s twin brothers, and her friends. And, her three kittens, named after the Bronte sisters, are just adorable.

I liked last year’s Death in Castle Dark. And, Bond doesn’t disappoint with an amateur sleuth who knows how to fight back to save herself. As a theater lover, I find this series entertaining and satisfying. If you’re looking for believable characters in a cozy mystery, you won’t go wrong with this series.
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📖My Thoughts📖

I absolutely loved this cozy mystery! What’s not to love? We have a mystery murder dinner theater in a castle, an actual murder, a wonderful cast of characters, some blossoming romances and even a treasure hunt! Cozy mysteries are one of my main go to’s. This one did not disappoint! I don’t know what it was but I felt very connected to this book and really loved every minute of it. The writing just flowed and had me completely drawn in. It was a pretty quick and easy read. If you enjoy cozy mysteries this is a definite must have in my opinion! Thank you Netgalley, Veronica Bond and Berkley Publishing for the opportunity to read and review this book.⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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"Castle Deadly, Castle Deep" has a ton of community theater filler and a clueless mystery. So we have a murder during the murder-mystery theater at the castle. Then everyone repeatedly said how no one would kill such a lovable, nice boy. So I'm going, "so who was the target?" Yet the police and Nora can't even figure that out until 73% of the way in. Romantic drama was a large part of the filler, so Nora's shopping, noticed a romantic attraction forming, and then commented on it to another person. That person attacked her, thinking she knew that person was whodunit. So, really, no clues or sleuthing. There was also a minor treasure mystery that likewise was solved by her walking in on the actual mystery-solver and just finishing what they had already figured out.

The castle theater idea is intriguing, but it was shut down near the beginning of the book. However, we got very detailed scenes of them practicing the community theater production, which might have been more interesting if I'd ever seen it in person. They do the scenes (in detail, even line-by-line) of practically the whole play out of sequence and then in sequence. The focus was mostly on how Nora's so brilliant at bringing out her unique vision for her character. The community theater production could have been completely cut from the book without affecting the mystery. I found it very, very boring.

Then there was the romance. Nora told Dash that he'd have to make time for their relationship, then committed to two theaters so she had no time for him. She's also jealous of his beautiful co-worker, though he's only professional around her. She blames the "distance" between them on Dash. He noticed her distance and how her new, handsome co-worker flirted with her. She condemns his lack of trust, and he obediently asks for forgiveness. Nora doesn't admit any fault, herself. They have passionate sex (only the foreplay is described) and all is well. There was occasional use of bad language.
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Castle Deadly, Castle Deep is book two in A Dinner and a Murder Mystery Series.
I have not read book one yet, but plan to because this was such an amazing cozy mystery story.

This book is very well written making it a wonderfully smooth read. The atmosphere and vivid descriptions are perfect for the plot and helps give that cosy feeling while reading.
I thought it was a super fun cozy read that has been impeccably written and executed.
The storyline itself is a lovely mystery that kept me guessing all the way through. 
It is filled with tension, suspense and murder.
The characters were all realistic, strong and very well described throughout the entire book.
An addictive page turning murder mystery. And one I had so much fun trying to figure out. 

Overall an absolutely compelling, addictive and page turning read that any mystery lover will devour and enjoy!

“I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.” 

Thank You for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this amazing eARC!
I will post my review to my platforms, blog, B&N and Waterstone closer to pub date.
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The setting and characters of this series are what will continue to bring me back. The castle is a wonderful setting that allows for new discoveries all the time, and the literal cast of characters are all quite fun. The issue with this entry is that the story goes on for far too long after the mystery is solved, and I'd have preferred a little more time concentrating on getting to know the suspects versus a drawn out ending.
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Once again murder visits Castle Dark when a guest is murdered during a special performance of the Castle’s holiday murder mystery.  It is autumn and Derek, owner of Castle Dark, is busy planning a spooky murder mystery set in the catacombs under the castle as well as directing an Ibsen play at the local theater. During a special performance of the murder mystery  arranged for the theater actors one of the theater actors is killed and both the Castle residents and the theater actors are suspects. Nora and her fellow Castle residents are perplexed over the murder as everyone liked the victim, no one has a bad word to say about him and he seems such an unlikely target for murder. While Nora’s boyfriend Dash investigates officially Nora investigates unofficially. 
Along with a murder the Castle is facing financial uncertainty as brothers Derek and Paul try to increase revenue. Additionally there are  mysterious noises in the night and a possible hidden treasure. Nora has her plate full with all the mysteries at Castle Dark as well as studying her part for the both the murder mystery and the Ibsen play and trying to figure out why her relationship with Dash seems to be faltering.
This is a great cozy mystery series. The characters are likeable and the setting is wonderful - who wouldn’t want to live in a castle that actually has all the modern conveniences?  This was a quick, fun read, ties things up nicely at the end and the murderer is not apparent to the reader too early.  My only quibbles would be Nora’s jealousy over Dash for silly reasons and we do not see enough of the kittens or Hamlet the dog. I look forward to more in this series
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Nora Blake always gives it her all when she's in character for the murder mystery events she performs in at the castle. 
This idea intrigues me, it reminds me of playing the boardgame Clue when I was younger. 
Of course, these murder mysteries cannot ever go as planned and another investigation puts Nora into sleuth mode, which she seems to enjoy.
This is a fun story and the characters make it better.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for selecting me to read an advanced copy of this book. 
#CastleDeadlyCastleDeep #NetGalley
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After the marvelous debut of A Dinner and A Mystery series, I wondered how the next story would flesh out. I knew I really liked the castle setting and it’s owners, Derek and Paul, plus the protagonist, Nora Blake and her three kittens named after the Brontë sisters. Once again, I’ve been thoroughly entertained.

The theatre group is rehearsing to perform two different plays at two different locations. The dark and drafty catacombs beneath the castle is where the autumn show will take place. Some of the actors are uneasy about that. Handsome Detective John Dashiell ‘Dash’ takes center stage when a tragic murder occurs in the catacombs during the play. It shocks and frightens everyone, but the show must go on. Author Bond proffers several suspicious characters which leads to some big surprises as the story develops. Nora’s brothers visit and add laughter with their antics in the midst of the serious situation! The ending and killer reveal is a great one and may surprise many readers! A poem finally provides clues to a hidden treasure which is fun and a happy ending. 

I honestly reviewed a digital arc provided by NetGalley and Berkley Publishing. All opinions are my own.
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Love the idea of a 'castle' that hosts murder mysteries. I also like the characters. The mystery kept me guessing. 

Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for my eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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