Reprioritized my reading list slightly, after discovering that some of my library books were due sooner than others.
Finished Joyce and Jim Lavene's Wicked Weaves, the first in their Renaissance Faire Mysteries, set in a pseudo-historical tourist village.
I like the SCA and other similar re-enactment groups. It's not really a hobby I'd engage in personally, but I love to watch. Unfortunately, it's not something I get to watch in my part of Canada, despite our officially belonging to the Kingdoms of An Tir, Ealdormere, and the East, though I understand there's some sort of model Viking village for the tourists over at L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland.
So the next best thing is reading about it, which is why I picked up Wicked Weaves, which involves a research historian spending time learning a trade from a Gullah (this is some sort of east coast US African-American traditional group, I gather) basket-weaver, who happens to get caught up in a mysterious on-site murder.
I'd previously read two other books by the Lavenes, and formed an impression of middling-mediocre plotting and characterization elevated just slightly by charming background details, and this book does nothing to change that.
Frankly, the plot was meandering and the sleuth was very amateur indeed (never a good sign when I can figure out the hidden whodunnit before the characters do), almost randomly accusing people all over the place until the end. And half the book was taken up with Slap Slap Kiss Kiss relationship drama between two of the leads, which got old pretty quick.
But I really liked the depiction of life as a player in a medieval-ish tourist village, plus the details on the process of basket-weaving, and the bonus supplements of the fake newsletter in the back explaining medieval practices and the recipe were a nice touch.
So while it's not all that great, I liked it enough that I'm willing to pick up the next couple of books in the series from the library; possibly even buy if some discount takes the e-book versions down to around $2.25 or less.
Mild recommend for people who like historical recreation themed cozies (I think this fits under that category) and have a high threshold for couples sniping as a spectator sport. But frankly, Mary Monica Pulver's Knight Fall, a murder mystery set at an actual SCA event and featuring a far less annoying romantic relationship is much better and you should spend your money on that, instead.