Murder in the Secret Maze by Judith Gonda | Blog Tour | Book Review | Giveaway 

Murder in the Secret Maze (A Tory Benning Mystery) by Judith Gonda

I am delighted to join the blog tour for Murder in the Secret Maze by Judith Gonda today! My thanks to Lori at Great Escapes Book Tours for the chance to join and the review copy!

About Murder in the Secret Maze

Murder in the Secret Maze (A Tory Benning Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Beyond the Publishing (February 26, 2020)
Paperback: 273 pages
ISBN-10: 1950461386
ISBN-13: 978-1950461387
Digital ASIN: B084HNMVGV

First in a new series featuring California landscape architect Tory Benning!

Landscape architect Tory Benning knows the lay of the land, but she’ll have to dig through the clues to unearth a killer . . .

After a whirlwind romance and a glorious wedding at the luxurious Hotel Santa Sofia, Tory Benning is ready to let down her hair, slip into her dancing shoes, and celebrate—until she discovers that her newly minted husband has vanished. The police suspect cold feet and second thoughts are behind Milo’s disappearance, but Tory’s certain he’s met with foul play. And since she designed the plush resort, she knows every nook and cranny of the grounds and adjoining secret maze, and wastes no time delving into her search.

As clues begin to emerge that Milo may have taken his last breath in the maze, Tory steps up her sleuthing, even as she learns she’s the prime suspect of a cop with a chip on his shoulder and is squarely in the sights of a menacing stalker. And when a second body is found on the grounds, Tory fears she’s up against a killer determined to silence any and all who get in the way. .

Not to be deterred, Tory forges ahead, navigating a case with more twists and turns than the maze itself, until the labyrinth of clues leads her to shocking revelations about her husband, her family, and the identity of a killer who’s dead set on making her the next victim . . . .

I Thought…

It is always so exciting to start at the beginning of a new cozy mystery series and Murder in the Secret Maze is the first in (hopefully!) a number of books set on the California coast and featuring landscape architect Tory Benning.

Kicking things off, after a whirlwind romance, Tory has just married the love of her life Milo Spinelli, a fellow architect at the prestigious Hotel Santa Sofia. Shortly after, Tory receives a text informing her that Milo has taken Iris, their Pomeranian dog, back to their home. But there is a problem – Katie Omstead, a neighbour, still has Iris with her. Along with her best friend and maid of honour Ashley Payne, Tory goes in search of her husband. As she designed the plush resort, she knows every part, in minute detail of the grounds and its adjoining secret maze, thus she wastes no time embarking on the trail of her beloved. But all she finds are indications that a fight has occurred, and there is no sign of Milo…

As is usual in a new series, this first book sets up the characters as well as providing some background on Benning Brothers, the company that Tory works for. Judith Gonda’s descriptions of the luxurious Hotel Santa Sofia were impressive and the pacing was spot on. There was always plenty going on and there was certainly never a dull moment!

Judith Gonda clearly knows how to write a story that is compelling, entertaining and fun, with characters that were not necessarily easy to love but fitted with the story really well. I really enjoyed Tory’s personality traits – particularly her spirit and astuteness. Then there was the supportive and caring Ashley and the amiable Sergeant Adrian Ramirez, who didn’t seem to mind Tory and Ashley muscling in on his case. All of the characters had a great part to play, whether or not they were likeable and all had plenty of drive and resolve. The plot was brilliantly executed and I was desperate to find out what was going to happen next.

The combination of description and dialogue was great and I had plenty of opportunities to play armchair detective as the suspect list was a long one. I was definitely surprised with the final denouement. All things considered, I loved this fascinating mystery and I highly recommend this humorous, easy to read cozy. I am already looking forward to reading the next book in the series. A well-deserved five stars!

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Great Escapes Tours at my request and this review is my unbiased opinion.

Brianne’s Book Reviews Rating | Five Stars

About Judith Gonda

Judith Gonda is a mystery writer and Ph.D. psychologist with a penchant for Pomeranians and puns, so it’s not surprising that psychology, Poms, and puns pop up in her amateur sleuth mysteries featuring California landscape architect Tory Benning.

Author Links:

Website –

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Purchase Links – Amazon – Barnes and Noble  –  Kobo  – Smashwords – Google Play 

There is a Rafflecopter Giveaway for this tour. Please click below to enter and good luck!

Don’t forget the other stops on the tour!


April 8 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW

April 8 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

April 9 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

April 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW, AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 11 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

April 11 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW

April 12 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

April 13 – Brianne’s Book Reviews – REVIEW


April 14 – Bea’s Book Nook – REVIEW

April 14 – eBook Addicts – SPOTLIGHT

April 15 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW

April 15 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW

April 16 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

April 16 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – SPOTLIGHT

April 17 – View from the Birdhouse – REVIEW


April 19 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

April 19 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT

April 20 – Sapphyria’s Books – REVIEW

April 21 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 21 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT

March 31 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

March 31 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

April 1 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – GUEST POST


April 3 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST

April 3 – StoreyBook Reviews – REVIEW


April 5 – Brianne’s Book Reviews – REVIEW

April 6 – The Self-Rescue Princess – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

April 7 – I’d Rather Be At The Beach –  REVIEW

April 8 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – CHARACTER GUEST POST

April 9 – Ascroft, eh? – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

April 9 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

April 10 – eBook Addicts – REVIEW

April 11 – Christy’s Cozy Corners – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST

April 12 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

April 13 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT

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Until Next Time, 

2 thoughts on “Murder in the Secret Maze by Judith Gonda | Blog Tour | Book Review | Giveaway 

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