I've been greatly enjoying this series; I love Annie and Max and all those name drops of mysteries and authors. Which is weird, because normally those things annoy me. *shrugs* Maybe, for me, it maters that I'm getting a long list of mysteries to check out. For lists of books and authors alluded to in each book, check out this site.
However, there is one person who's attempting to ruin my love of these stories. I'm speaking of the ban of Annie's existence: her mother-in-law Laurel. She doesn't even live in the same state but no, she has to come down and just happen to take her daughter-in-law's class. Thanks Hart, this book wouldn't have been the same without her (it would certainly have been easier to read). Adding a disliked character from the second book returning as well and I felt the book was out to get me.
And yet, their presence there makes sense when combined with Henny Brawley as the three of them mirror the Grand Dames of Mystery the class is about. Mary Roberts Rinehart and Annie's mother-in-law seem to be kindred spirits while the returning character from the second book believes it's Dorothy L. Sayers or nothing. Henny, of course, connects with Agatha Christie and does her normal dressing up routine centered solely around the author and her sleuths. I've only read Christie so far, but I knew enough about Sayer and Rinehart to know who the author was talking about. I learned a good bit and hope to do a read through of their works.
As for the mystery itself...I didn't guess it but mostly because it slunk around in the background. The class, issues with the three ladies, etc. seemed to take up more time. Many of the clues came from the three "students" with Annie putting the pieces together. The person was a surprise - a really sad one.
So far, this has been my least favorite book in the series, but the information and discussion of the three Grand Dames of Mystery made it (mostly) worth it. If this were a class, I'd sign up for it.