I knew just a few pages into KC Held's debut, HOLDING COURT, that I was going to enjoy the book--particularly after discovering that Held and I have a mutual adoration of Elizabeth Peters' wonderfully madcap mysteries, and those were part of her inspiration behind this book.
This book was fun, breezy, and witty with just the right touch of romance. Juliet ("Jules") Verity was a delightful main character--smart, loyal, and just self-deprecating enough to be relatable. Part of this, of course, comes from her "PTS"--or self-diagnosed psychic Tourette's syndrome, where she feels an inexplicable compulsion to blurt random things that turn out to be true. (Jules is aware that this isn't real Tourette's syndrome, and even comments on the fact that corprolalia, or the blurting tendency most commonly associated with Tourette's syndrome, only happens in 10 % of the cases). Whatever the cause, her blurts are a source of annoyance and embarrassment to Jules.
As the story begins, Jules is looking for a summer job--and finds the perfect one at a local Medieval dinner theater, where, she believes, she'll get to wear an attractive dress and discretely ogle her long-time crush from a distance. But life, of course, rarely works the way you planned (especially in novels!) and Jules finds herself cast as a mad, fortune-telling nun, of all things, and that her crush's girlfriend is also part of the staff. When Jules stumbles across a dead body (that disappears while she's trying to summon help), things only get worse, particularly as Jules tries to uncover information that could clear herself from suspicion.
Held does a wonderful job with this--it's compulsively readable, quick, and the characters run the gamut from funny to downright creepy. Despite the potential darkness of the murder, Held keeps the tone light even as the tension picks up (a perfect combination for me: there's a reason I read cozy mysteries!). Recommended for readers looking for a light-hearted, escapist read.