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A Messy Affair

(Lena Szarka Mysteries #3)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  34 ratings  ·  26 reviews
'A deliciously light and amusing souffle of a book' Irish Independent

'Beautiful writing' The Sun

The only way is murder...

Lena Szarka, a Hungarian cleaner working in London, is forced to brush up on her detective skills for a third time when her cousin Sarika is plunged into danger.

Sarika and her reality TV star boyfriend Terry both receive threatening notes. When Terry
Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published January 2nd 2020 by Constable
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  34 ratings  ·  26 reviews

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DJ Sakata
Favorite Quotes:

The devil’s own food, wasabi peas… Why turn an innocent pea into a torture device like that? The Japanese have no business making snacks.

I remember when the internet was invented… I thought that this internet thing would never take off. So slow. And so much information no one cared about. Full of chat rooms with lonely people scattered all over the world, spelling badly and swearing at each other.

Lena felt as though she should work in a bar, the amount of alcohol and sympathy she
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed the previous two books featuring Lena Szarka,In Strangers’ HousesandA Clean Canvas, howeverA Messy Affaircan also be enjoyed as a standalone read.

Readers unfamiliar with the series should be warned the books contain scenes of heavy duty cleaning and unrestrained use of dusters, mops and other dirt fighting weapons. And beware the wrath of Lena if you pronounce her name to rhyme with ‘cleaner’ rather than as it should be. However, if you get on her right side, she may just reward
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
From reality shows, jealousy and envy, to internet dating and fraud, A Messy Affair is an entertaining and totally engrossing mystery.

What starts as a date with a reality TV celebrity ends with the celebrity being murdered and Sarika and Lena getting threatening notes and messages.Lena Szarka is an excellent sleuth. Her job as a cleaner gives her access to crime scenes and suspects' house. This also means a cup of hot tea or coffee and lots of gupshup (gossip) with suspects and their nosy
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love Lena! She’s strong, feisty and determined and makes you root for her. The premise of a cleaner solving crimes using her job to find clues is brilliant, but also love the evolution of her personal life. Just the right mix of the two.
The series is getting better with each book and I’m hoping book 4 is on the cards!
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing the second book, 'A Clean Canvas', in the Lena Szarka mysteries. I was eager to get my hands on a copy of the third book in the series called 'A Messy Affair'. Well ladies and gents the wait is over because 'A Messy Affair' was released on 2nd January 2020. It's another corker and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it but more about that in a bit.
I have to be honest and say that it took me a little while to get into this story, which is more to do with the
Laura Nelson (Tangents and Tissues)
****4.5 stars!****

I’m ashamed to admit I’m a newbie to The Lena Szarka Mysteries. It’s true what they say, ‘So many books, so little time’. Yet, fear not, fellow bookworms, as your reading pleasure won’t be hampered in any way by not having read the previous two books in the series. We just have more books for those never ending TBRs!

I likened this addictive story to a modern-day Miss Marple with a twist. And it’s no secret I am a massive Miss M fan.

Thanks to her cousin, Sarika, and her own
Kerry Robinson
I'm almost embarrassed to admit this is my first adventure with Elizabeth Mundy and Lena however, I am a new fan and will be off to check out book one and two. Despite being book 3 in a series though I can guarantee it works as a stand alone novel.

A Messy affair is a quirky, often hilarious and completely refreshing mystery novel and absolutely enjoyed every minute of reading it.

Lena is such a feisty and hilarious character that I just want to be her best friend/sidekick. She is intelligent and
Jo Barton
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Lena Szarka is a full time cleaner who works in London, however, her access into the fascinating lives of her clients also lends itself to Lena's other fascinating pre-occupation, which is that of part-time sleuth. Her occasional, and sometimes reluctant, helper is her cousin Sarika whohas recently become involved with a young man who is something of a reality TV star. When Terry Tibbs, Sarikas’s boyfriend, is found dead in a hotel in very suspicious circumstances, Lena has to put all of her ...more
LJ (On The Shelf Reviews)
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is the third in Lena Szarka series but it can be easily read as a standalone, something I can attest to as I haven’t read the first two. After reading a messy affair the other books in the series have been added to my wishlist.

Lena’s life in London is going from strength to strength, with her own cleaning business but she finds herself in the middle of another mystery after her cousin receives threatening letters as she’s dating a reality TV star Terry Tibbs.

Terry turns up dead but the
Jane Hunt
Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
‘A Messy affair’, is the third book in 'The Lena Szarka Mysteries', but reads well as a standalone. It is an enjoyable read, and now, I want to read the first two in the series.

Lena, an enterprising Hungarian woman living in Islington, London, has a talent for business, unwavering loyalty to family and friends and undoubted skill as an amateur sleuth. She has a sharp wit, and an intelligent mind, and reading the story through her eyes is a joy. All of the characters are believable, and fulfil
Pam Robertson
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
I haven't read any of the earlier books in this series, but that didn't seem to matter. I was able to enjoy it just the same. Lena proved to be a feisty and determined sleuth with the perfect cover for her investigating activities- that of a cleaner. Able to go about unremarked on, she can watch and listen, swallowed up in the background to people's lives.

Lena's strong sense of family draws her into this mystery. References to Reality Television and multicultural life gives this cosy crime a
Jan 15, 2020 added it
Shelves: for-review, 25
I've read my fair share of reality TV books written by various cast members of Jersey Shore, so I was immediately intrigued when I read the blurb for Elizabeth Mundy's third Lena Szarka cosy crime novel. Although Made in Chelsea has never been my reality TV show of choice, I recognised enough to enjoy the commentary on these slightly tragic public figures. And I actually enjoyed this murder storyline more than the art thievery of the last book, although I'm not really sure what that says about ...more
Jan 20, 2020 rated it liked it
A Messy Affair is a modern take on the cosy mystery, cleaning up the dirty side of reality TV.

Elizabeth Mundy‘s writing is fun and Lena has some humorous observations and insights. There were plenty of red herrings and suspects, recognisable from various ‘structured reality’ shows and their tangential hangers-on. I particularly liked Mrs Kingston, and Jasper the rabbit (natch!) Lena herself is admirably dogged, thorough and loyal and she is a likeable lead.

To begin with, I struggled with Lena’s
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“The Only Way is Murder” is a subtitle to this book, which itself neatly encapsulates what this book is all about. The suspicious death of reality TV star Terry is soon seen as being far more like murder to Lena the Hungarian super cleaner and unofficial detective. She has started her own business cleaning and catering for clients in her part of contemporary London, and she employs friends and relatives who have also arrived from European countries. In two previous novels she has become ...more
Jan 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Elizabeth Mundy’s indomitable and resourceful heroine Lena Szarka, Hungarian cleaner turned sleuth supreme, is back with an irresistible mystery that is simply sensational: A Messy Affair. Full of red herrings, twists and turns galore and reality TV shenanigans, A Messy Affair is another stellar mystery by Elizabeth Mundy.

Lena Szarka is ready to hang up her sleuthing boots and focus all of energy and efforts into her cleaning business. Now that she has added another feather to her bow with her
Jan 23, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020-releases, 2019

Lena Szarka is a full - time cleaner in London, very prone to land herself in situations that end with crime. This time it's about her cousin Sarika's boyfriend, Terry Tibs, who is also a reality TV star. He's found dead in a hotel room, in very suspicious circumstances, and Lena has to put all of her detective skills to good use in order to find out what has happened to Terry.

The main character Lena was really well written. I liked the way she was, ambitious, observant, calm and level -
book club lover
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Elizabeth Mundy is a master of plotting. From the beginning, the reader’s path is strewn with sometimes unrecognisable clues, even before the main event. We travel down promising pathways only to find wrong turnings, with the need to retrace our steps, with perhaps a new angle. Tensions build, drama and danger increase, as seemingly disparate storylines culminate into a cohesive and satisfying conclusion.
So, what’s in store besides an exciting crime novel? A writer in command of her art. The
Remi Lauren
Feb 17, 2020 rated it liked it
"A Messy Affair" began as a slowly paced patchy story. The author seemed intent on giving an update on all the characters in every chapter, that it was very disconnecting.

Halfway through the book, I was considering DNFing the book due to the weird plot. It wasn't engaging enough and I was getting irritated with P C Cartwright. He was being mentioned by Lena so many times and he didn't even seem to deserve that attention. Lena seemed to be an intelligent woman but she was basically out of danger
Jan 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, crime
Quirky, hilarious & addictive!

Is there anything more endearing than a reluctant sleuth? Lena won my heart - intelligent, witty and feisty. Her cleaning job gives her the perfect cover for investigating unnoticed watching and listening in the background of everyone's lives.

Mundy's easy writing style pulls you in and her descriptions are so vivid you'll soon feel like you are Lena's sidekick trying to work out from the clues and guess whodunit. Well plotted and clever, I really enjoyed
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
What a great idea for an amateur sleuth!

Lena Szarka runs her own cleaning business and often gets the run of the property she's cleaning, so the scope for "investigation" is huge. Keen to protect her cousin, Lena uses the cover of her business to point the eyes of the law towards the real killer of Reality TV star, Terry. I loved the way she offered a free trial to anyone she regarded as a potential suspect. SMART!

The story is well-written and it was so easy to get drawn into the plot as Lena
Stephanie Dagg
Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a wonderfully enjoyable cosy mystery. Hungarian immigrant Lena is a likeable and very interesting character. Her situation as something of an outsider lends her sharper observation skills and she has a keen eye for the ridiculous that only someone not part of a certain society can clearly see.
There lots of humour as well as a riveting mystery to solve, set around the very modern topics of reality TV and online dating. We meet more of Lena’s relatives in this story (it’s the third in a
Roger Quentin
Jan 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Elizabeth Mundy’s third book in the Lena Szarka series is even better than the previous two. You get a sense of the grittier side of Islington in London. More Holloway Road with nail parlours and kebab shops than the boutiques and bistros of Upper Street.
The plot development is teasingly complex, with surprises that on reflection seem more obvious in retrospect. There’s a crescendo of action in the final pages which kept me glued to the page.
The language, characterisation, literary style and
Caroline Venables
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a brilliant read and although I was not familiar with character, having not read the first two in the series, this does not detract from this book.

I love the character of Lena, and the genius of making her a cleaner. A profession that can give her access to lots of areas and the invisibility that is sometimes needed for someone trying to solve a crime. She is a feisty protagonist and works the mysteries out well.

This book sees her enter the world of reality television when her cousin is
Debbie Rayner
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love how Elizabeth Mundy continue's to deftly weave social observation into the fabric of her stories, no heavy handed commentary or opinion, just Lena making her own way in the world on her own terms.

#NoSpoilers but laugh out loud moments, rubbing shoulders with murder, mystery and well drawn characters make A Messy Affair another winner for me.

Great read to tick off the 2020 TBR pile.
Jan 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: uk-authors
This is the third book in the The Lena Szarka Mysteries Series, however it was the first time I read about Lena and her detective skills. I do think there would have been another level of enjoyment if I had read the previous books, especially the first book as there Lena mentions her friend Timea often.

A Messy Affair was a good introduction into a genre I don’t often read. Lena is meticulous and determined. The story layout and her approach to working out the mystery reminded me of TV mysteries
Kate Brett
Feb 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Much, much better than the last novel in the series!
Brid Cogan
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Elizabeth Mundy’s grandmother was a Hungarian immigrant to America who raised five children on a chicken farm in Indiana. An English Literature graduate from Edinburgh University, Elizabeth is a marketing director for an investment firm and lives in London with her messy husband and baby son. In Strangers’ Houses is her debut novel and the first in the Lena Szarka mystery series.

Other books in the series

Lena Szarka Mysteries (3 books)
  • In Strangers' Houses (Lena Szarka Mysteries #1)
  • A Clean Canvas (Lena Szarka Mysteries #2)