Friday, December 15, 2017

The Trouble with Murder:

Salutations! Better Dead by Pamela Kopfler will be published on December 26.  It is the first installment in A B&B Spirits Mystery series.  

The Trouble with Murder by Kathy Krevat is the first book in A Gourmet Cat Mystery series.  Colbie Summers, along with her son and cat, have moved back home to Sunnyside to assist her father, Hank.  Her father has been ill with pneumonia and needs her assistance.  Colbie owns Meowio Batali Gourmet Cat Food which was inspired by her cat, Trouble and his digestive issues.  She makes organic, human grade food for cats.  Colbie is at a trade show of the Sunnyside Power Moms (SPMs) when she gets a call from her son, Elliott regarding her dad.  Colbie must rush home and Twila agrees to clean up her booth for her.  Later that night, Colbie and her father return to the event space and find Twila Jenkins dead with one of Colbie’s knives in her chest.  The police have Colbie at the top of the suspect list. Someone is trying to frame Colbie for murder.   Lani, Colbie’s best friend, suggests that Colbie find the killer to clear her name.  Colbie questions the Sunnyside Power Moms while dealing with her son who wishes to reach out to his biological father, writing a business proposal, her ill father, her cat who is aptly named Trouble, a bald guy stalking Elliott, a romantic prospect and a doorbell ringing chicken.  What happens, though, when Colbie uncovers the culprit who has no intention of going to jail?
The Trouble with Murder is easy to read and has a nice pace.  I wish, though, that the author had provided more background on Colbie.  We are given some details, but her character is not well established.  The author never provides the last name of Lani, Colbie’s best friend.  Not many details are provided on the town either.  The author needed to devote time to establishing the foundation.  We have the obligatory romantic love interest with the next-door neighbor.  There are several “hunky” references (seems to be a trend in books I have read lately).  The mystery is interesting and there are several suspects.  Those who love to solve mysteries will have no trouble identifying the guilty party (along with the reason the crime was committed).  I did not appreciate the aggressive Detective Little (I found him clichĂ©).  The majority of the book deals with Colbie’s business, her son and his musical prowess, her father’s illness, Elliott’s desire to connect with his biological father, the doorbell ringing chicken who has to be returned to the handsome neighbor, Trouble (the cat) being troublesome yet helpful (if his owner would just pay attention), and Colbie talking to Lani.  The only action is towards the end of the story.  The investigation consists of Colbie talking (i.e. questioning) the SPMs and then repeating everything for her friend, Lani. I am giving The Trouble with Murder 3 out of 5 stars.  I wish the book had been more compelling.  The Trouble with Murder failed to capture and hold my attention.

I appreciate you reading my latest review.  I will return tomorrow with my evaluation of A Case of Syrah, Syrah by Nancy J. Parra.  By the way--Where did Frosty the Snowman meet his wife?  At the Snow Ball.  During this busy time of year, make sure to take time for yourself.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader  

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Unnatural Causes: A Dr. Katie LeClair Mystery

Greetings!  Death Below Stairs by Jennifer Ashley is A Below Stairs Mystery.  It will be published on January 2, 1018 along with The Lacemaker by Laura Frantz.
Unnatural Causes by Dawn Eastman is the first book in A Dr. Katie LeClair Mystery series.  Dr. Katie LeClair has joined the family practice of Dr.’s Emmett and Nick Hawkins (father and son) in Baxter, Michigan.  She is called into the hospital when Ellen Riley is brought in from an overdose of diazepam (and Nick did not answer his page).  The bottle states that Katie wrote the prescription, but she never issued it to Ellen.  The police believe it is suicide, until Ellen’s daughter, Beth convinces them to take another look.  Beth states that Ellen was stressed over research she had been conducting.  Ellen had discovered something—did it get her killed?  Katie wants answers and enlists her brother, Caleb to assist her.  What was Ellen Riley researching and why did Nick not answer his page?  Someone is not happy with Katie’s meddling and warns her off her search.  Can Katie uncover the killer, or will she end up the next victim?
I thought Unnatural Causes was nicely written and had a good pace.  The author establishes Katie’s background early in the story and I found her a likeable, relatable character.   The transitions between scenes was smooth (nicely handled by author).  There is a repetition of information that could have been eliminated. The same details do not need to be repeated throughout the book.  There are two mysteries in the book and both can be solved.  The murderer can be discerned early in the story.  The why is slowly revealed as the story progresses.  There are good clues that will aid readers in solving the mystery.  It is slightly convoluted and there is a surprise that readers may not anticipate.  There are several suspects and some nice misdirection.  The secondary mystery (regarding Nick Hawkins) is interesting and a common problem in our society (unfortunately).  The action ramps up in the last 12% of the story.  There is a love interest for Katie in the story.  I was glad that the romance element was light and not rushed.  Unnatural Causes is different from Dawn Eastman’s A Family Fortune Mystery series.  It shows the author’s versatility.  Unnatural Causes has good bones, and I look forward to reading the next book in A Dr. Katie LeClair Mystery series. 
Thank you for reading my latest review.  I will be featuring The Trouble with Murder by Kathy Krevat tomorrow.  By the way--Where does Santa put his suit after Christmas? (prepare to groan).  In the Claus-et!  It is so bad, that it is funny!   May you have a very merry day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Live and Let Fly: A Kite Shop Mystery

Greetings!  Christmas is rapidly approaching.  I am still working on getting my tree decorating.  There are just not enough hours in the day to get everything done during the holiday season.  Another One Bites the Crust by Ellie Alexander will be published on January 2.  It is the seventh book in A Bakeshop Mystery series.  

Live and Let Fly by Clover Tate is the second book in A Kite Shop Mystery series.  Emmy Adler owns Strings Attached in Rock Point, Oregon.  She is busy preparing her kite for the upcoming kite festival.  Emmy needs to win for the publicity to help keep her fledgling shop open over the winter.  Emmy is working on her kite when her sister, Sunny arrives unexpectedly and states she is moving in with Emmy.  Sunny has quit college and wants to think over her options for her future.  While drinking tea, Sunny manages to spill her cup and stain Emmy’s kite.  Emmy heads to Brew House and sees Jack Sullivan talking with guest judge, Jasmine Normand.  Emmy ends up causing a scene.  The next morning, Jasmine Normand is found dead, and Emmy is a person of interest.  Business at Strings Attached takes a nosedive, so Emmy sets out to find Jasmine’s killer.  When not busy with her investigation, Emmy starts working on a new kite for the competition.  Unfortunately, Sunny ends up burning a hole in it.  Maybe the third one will be a winner. Can Emmy find the culprit before the competition begins?  Does she stand a chance of getting a kite finished in time with Sunny around?
Live and Let Fly is the second installment in A Kite Shop Mystery series, but it can be read alone.  I like that Emmy makes unique one-of-a kind kites.  Emmy, though, is bland and I did not like her interactions with Jack Sullivan (jealousy and overreacting when Jack wanted to discuss their relationship).  Her sister, Sunny, outshines her throughout the story with her clumsiness, financial advice, and gregarious personality.  I found the novel to be slow paced and lacking in action.  There was a lot of time devoted to walking, eating, and talking.  There is a little action towards the very end of the book.  I am giving Live and Let Fly 3 out of 5 stars.  The mystery has more than one component and is slightly complex.  Most armchair sleuths will have no problem figuring out the solution.  I was never drawn into Live and Let Fly.  It is one of those stories that I read, but my mind was never fully engaged.  I felt that the author did not fully develop her world or characters.  Cozy mystery readers who enjoy light, humorous stories will enjoy reading Live and Let Fly.  There is humor, romance, a mystery and beautiful kites in Live and Let Fly.  The first book in A Kite Shop Mystery series is Blown Away.
Thank you for visiting today.  I do appreciate it.  I will be featuring Unnatural Causes by Dawn Eastman tomorrow.  It is the first book in A Dr. Katie LeClair Mystery series.  I sincerely hope that you have a beautiful day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

A Murder for the Books: A Blue Ridge Library Mystery

A Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert is the first installment in A Blue Ridge Library Mystery series.  Amy Webber is the library director for Taylorsford Public Library in Taylorsford, Virginia.  Amy took this position after an incident at Clarion University with her ex-boyfriend, Charles Bartos.  Amy is showing Richard Muir, Taylorsford’s newest resident, the archival building and she discovers the building is unlocked.  They find the missing Doris Virts (escaped her caregiver again) inside and she has been murdered.  Who would have wanted to kill Doris?  Richard needs Amy’s help in proving that Eleanora Cooper did not kill her husband (the case is from the 1920s).  Eleanora was acquitted of the crime, but the townspeople still did not believe her innocence.  Eleanora disappeared after the trial and was never seen again.  Richard’s great uncle Paul Dassin had been written a novel based on the trial and he had been in love with Eleanora.  Richard inherited his new home from Paul and wants to finally prove Eleanora’s innocence.  Is it possible the two crimes are related?  Amy and Richard set out to get answers, but someone is not happy with their sleuthing.  
A Murder for the Books has one of my favorite premises—a library and a librarian as a sleuth.  I appreciated the fact the Amy likes to solve mysteries (so do I). The book takes place over a matter of weeks as Richard and Amy look into the two murder cases.  I did feel the book was a little too long and could have used some editing (and rewriting).  There was too much speculation, reiteration, gardening, dancing and admiration of Richard’s physique.  The writing is nice, but the pace was sluggish.  The action picks up towards the end of the story, and then it slows back down again (the author dragged out the capture of the killer).   I did like the library, town, and especially Aunt Lydia (great character).  The mysteries had some intriguing aspects.  However, readers will have no problem solving them long before the reveal (which I find disappointing).  I wish the author had thrown a twist in towards the end to surprise readers.   I felt the romance was too pronounced and it progressed at a rapid pace.  I prefer a romance that plays out slowly over the course of a series (let the characters get to know each other first before they progress to the next level).  It seems that Amy is rushing into a new relationship after getting out of a bad one (that caused her to move to another town and get a new job).  Richard comes across as a creepy at times and slightly cheesy (especially his lines).  The ghost element never came alive for me.  It was there (more pronounced at the end), but it felt forced (the author did not pull it off).    I believe the author tried to put too many plots into one book (I only summarized the main points).  I am giving A Murder for the Books 3 out of 5 stars.  I am interested enough, though, to read the next book in A Blue Ridge Library Mystery series which is Shelved Under Murder (July 10, 2018).

I appreciate you visiting and reading my review.  I hope that you found it helpful.  I will be featuring Live and Let Fly by Clover Tate tomorrow.  It is the second book in A Kite Shop Mystery series.  May you have a capricious day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader   

Monday, December 11, 2017

Enchantress of Numbers: A Novel of Ada Lovelace

Hello!  Mistletoe Murder by Karen MacInerney is out today.  It is the fourth book in A Dewberry Farm Mystery series.  Lucy Resnick is looking forward to a cozy Christmas until the Randy Stone turns up dead with a knife in his back and a sprg of mistletoe in his hair!  The sheriff picks his culprit and does not wish to look any further.  It is up to Lucy to get justice for Randy.

Enchantress of Numbers by Jennifer Chiaverini is novel about the life of Ada Lovelace.  Augusta Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace, is the only child of Lord Byron and his wife, Annabella.  Not long after Ada was born, Annabella left her husband (Lord Byron had mental problems) and returned to her parent’s home.  Annabella does everything in her power to make sure the Byron blood does not destroy Ada’s life.  Fairy tales, make believe, poetry, passion (for life, ideas) and imagination are banned while mathematics, science, and languages are stressed in Ada’s education regime.  We follow Ada through her lonely childhood into adulthood with her overbearing mother and unorthodox education.  While in London during her first season, Ada meets Charles Babbage.  Ada is fascinated with Babbage’s Difference Engine and the plans he has for the Analytical Engine.  Ada wants to do what she can to help Babbage realize his dream.  She continues to study advanced mathematics, meets the love of her life, discovers the reason her parent’s marriage fell apart, and continues to pursue the development of Babbage’s inventions.  Will Ada be able to assist Babbage in achieving his dream? 

Enchantress of Numbers is well-researched and contains interesting information on Ada’s life (if you make it that far into the book).  The writing reminded me of a boring textbook (very dry).  I loved Jennifer Chiaverini’s The Elm Creek Quilts series which is well-written, has a good pace, and wonderful characters.  Enchantress of Numbers did not feel like it was written by the same author.  Part of the problem was the first-person narrative.  The story is first told from Annabella’s perspective and then from Ada’s point-of-view.  She shares her reminisces starting with infanthood (which is unbelievable).  Can any person remember being a baby especially with such detail?  It reminded me a diary where Ada tells us how her mother controls her life (never meets her father, told her blood is bad).  Any time Ada gets close to a caretaker, they are fired.  If she shows an interest in a subject (like making wings), it is discouraged.  The characters came across as flat.  They were not brought to life.  Ada (as well as her mother) is an unlikeable protagonist.  I find it difficult to read a book when I do not like the main character.  The mathematics sections will put many readers (non-mathematicians) to sleep (great if you suffer from insomnia).  They dragged on for pages.   The book was too long (it seemed to go on forever) and it was overly detailed.  Many times, I wanted to abandon my pursuit of completing this Enchantress of Numbers. There were a couple of interesting sections, but they were few and far between.  I’m sorry, but I was not enchanted by Enchantress of Numbers.

Thank you for visiting today and reading my latest review.  I will be featuring A Murder for the Books by Victoria Gilbert tomorrow.  It is the first book in A Blue Ridge Library Mystery series.  I hope that you have a very special day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Secrets of Cavendon: Cavendon Chronicles

Salutations!  Thank you for visiting today.  Please consider receiving my blog via email.  You can sign up and receive my latest reviews right in your inbox (right hand side of screen).  I am featuring the Cavendon Chronicles Series today by Barbara Taylor Bradford.  The first three books in the series are Cavendon Hall, The Cavendon Women, and The Cavendon Luck.

Secrets of Cavendon by Barbara Taylor Bradford is fourth book in the Cavendon Chronicles Series.  It is June in 1949 at Cavendon Hall.  Countess Cecily Swann Ingham is working to make the property profitable and for them to be able to pay the upcoming taxes.  Lady Daphne objects to how commercial Cavendon Hall is becoming and decamps with her husband to Switzerland.  Lady Cecily must now stay on at Cavendon Hall full time while managing her business, Cecily Swann Couture long-distance which has been struggling since the war ended.  Lady Cecily decides to create a new collection using the gardens at Cavendon Hall as inspiration.  Alicia Ingham Stanton is starting a new film and is taken by Adam Fennell, the associate producer.  Can Adam be the love of her life?  Victoria is busy doing photo shoots and is intrigued by her latest subject, Christopher Langdon.  Lady Daphne’s family is worried about her health, but she is evading their questions.  Life is never dull for the Swann and Ingham families.  Come see how they are faring in Secrets of Cavendon.
Secrets of Cavendon did not feel as if it was written by Barbara Taylor Bradford.  It lacked focus and jumped around from character to character (and kept introducing more people).  The last 15% of the book was the most interesting.  I was never pulled into the story the way I was with other works by this author (A Woman of Substance for example).  Before embarking on Secrets of Cavendon, you need to have read the first three books in the Cavendon Chronicles Series (or you will be utterly lost in the beginning).   The story dwells on Lady Cecily trying to keep the estate afloat.  There is a lack of action until the end of the book when a murder occurs.  Most of the characters lack depth, and they are all very similar (and felt fake).  Many of them are superficial and do not add to the story.  It is easy to predict how the book will turn out (it is expected).  I found many of the same details repeated throughout the story (like filler) along with information from the previous books in the series.  I do feel that Barbara Taylor Bradford accurately portrayed the financial woes that befell many great estates after World War II.  Otherwise, I was not impressed with Secrets of Cavendon.  I will hesitate before picking up another book by this author (she used to be one of my favorites).

I will return tomorrow with my review of Enchantress of Numbers by Jennifer Chiaverini.  I am currently reading Stowed Away by Barbara Ross (comes out December 26).  I was fortunate enough to win a copy from the author.  May you have an enchanting day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Hide and Seek: A D.I. Helen Grace Thriller

Welcome!  A Courtship on Huckleberry Hill by Jennifer Beckstrand will be released on December 26.  It is the eighth book in The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series with Anna and Felty Helmuth.  You can count on Anna and Felty to match up another grandchild with their true love and throw in some crocheted (or knitted) items and Anna's inedible food.

Hide and Seek by M.J. Arlidge is the sixth book in D.I. Helen Grace series.  Helen Grace is behind bars in Holloway Prison and she is in general population.  Helen needs to find a way to stay alive until the trial or until Charlie Brooks can find the real killer—Robert Stonehill.  Just when Helen thinks her situation cannot get any worse, a body turns up in the next cell.  Grace (being Grace) cannot help but investigate the crime.  Then the killer strikes again.  Grace needs to work quickly to find the culprit before they kill again.  Making things more difficult is Annie, a gang leader, bent on causing Helen harm. Charlie is working quickly to locate Robert Stonehill and prove Grace’s innocence.  Charlie is risking her job to help her friend.  Helen and Charlie are racing against the clock.  Will Helen make it out of Holloway alive?  Can Charlie find Robert Stonehill in time to save Helen?  Who is killing the female prisoners in Holloway?
Hide and Seek is masterful.  M.J. Arlidge has done it again with Hide and Seek.  I found it well-written with a complex mystery and a fast pace.  There is plenty of action, suspense and twists.  The author keeps a reader guessing in this one (it was delightful).  I suggest that you read the books in the D.I. Helen Grace series in order.  The books in the series build on one another.  What happens in Hide and Seek is the result of what occurred in Little Boy Blue.  Helen is a complex character (intelligent, resilient, good instincts) with many layers (we have only scratched the surface in the first six books).  We get to see a different side of Helen in this story.  I was glad to see Charlie get more play in Hide and Seek.  She is also strong, smart, and feisty.    The action ramps up toward the end of the story, and I was glued to my e-reader.  I did not stop reading until I finished the book (I was riveted).  M.J. Arlidge keeps readers on the edge of their seats.  I am giving Hide and Seek 5 out of 5 stars (I loved it).  I have both the book and the audiobook (allowed me to listen to the story on the go).  The narrator did a wonderful job.  If you enjoy psychological thrillers/suspense novels, then Hide and Seek is for you.  I am eager to read the next installment in the D.I. Helen Grace series which is Love Me Knot.

I appreciate you visiting today and checking out my latest review.  I will return tomorrow with my review of Secrets of Cavendon by Barbara Taylor Bradford.  May you have a delightful day.  Take care, stay warm (it is in the 50s in my area of Florida) and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Friday, December 8, 2017

A Bella Flora Christmas: Ten Beach Road Novella

Thank you for stopping by today.  Stowed Away by Barbara Ross is the sixth book in A Maine Clambake Mystery series and it will be published on December 26.  

A Bella Flora Christmas by Wendy Wax is a Ten Beach Road Novella (#5.5).  It is almost Christmas at Bella Flora in Pass-a-Grille, Florida.  Kyra Singer is worried about losing Bella Flora thanks to the loan she took out to finance the remodel of the Sunshine Hotel (and get control of their show Do Over).  Kyra will be hosting Christmas for family and friends at Bella Flora before decamping.  She has rented out Bella Flora to a mystery tenant who will be arriving at the beginning of January.  Kyra also needs to decide whether to let her son (Dustin) act in Daniel Deranian’s (Dustin’s biological father) new movie.  The money will be helpful, but it will mean six weeks in the company of Daniel’s wife, Tonja.  Nicole, Avery, Madeline, Kyra, spouses, significant others, children and friends come together for Christmas.    It is a joyful holiday only marred by an unexpected and unwelcome arrival.  What decision will Kyra make about the movie?  Can they save Bella Flora once again?
A Bella Flora Christmas is a very short novel.  I recommend reading the Ten Beach Road books in order.  While details from the previous books is rehashed in A Bella Flora Christmas (unfortunately), new readers to the series will be confused (all the characters, various relationships).  I wish the author had not tried to make it a standalone.   A Bella Flora Christmas was too short, and it left fans of the series disappointed.  I wanted more Christmas and less reiteration. There is more drama between Kyra, Daniel and Tonja along with the Christmas celebration.  Kyra makes her decision and then the book ends (rather abruptly).  The story alludes to the mysterious renter, but readers are not told the persons identity.  We will have to wait for Best Beach Ever.  I was entertained by the names the ladies came with for Dustin’s new puppy.  The book is nicely written, but the pace was a little slow.  Kyra agonizing over decision dominated the book (with characters being introduced in between).  I found myself yelling at my e-reader telling her to decide already (she really needs the money and it is only six weeks) and to quit lusting after Daniel.  The series has well-developed characters that people will like and relate to with the exception of Tonja (every story needs a villain).  While I found A Bella Flora Christmas lacking, it will not keep me from reading the next book in the Ten Beach Road series. Best Beach Ever is the next book in the Ten Beach Road series and it will be published on May 22, 2018.

I will be back tomorrow with my review of Hide and Seek by M.J. Arlidge.  It is the sixth book in D.I. Helen Grace series.  I hope that you have a very special day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Not a Creature was Purring: A Paws and Claws Mystery

Not a Creature was Purring by Krista Davis is the fifth book in the A Paws and Claws Mystery series.  Holly Miller is looking forward to Christmas in Wagtail, Virginia with her Oma and large circle of friends.  Then Holly discovers that Holmes Richardson has brought his fiancĂ©, Norma Jeanne Blume along with her extended family home for the holiday.  Holly was hoping Holmes would realize Norma Jeanne was not the right woman for him and see that the perfect partner for him is right under his nose.  Dale Thackleberry, Norma Jeanne’s grandfather and CEO of a pet apparel company, is in the Christmas spirit and distributes gifts to local children (despite his families grumpy and haughty demeaner).  Rupert Grimpley, though, disturbs the entire town with his giant blow up Grinch (with lights and music).  Birdie Dupuy, Holly’s aunt, is particularly disgruntled over this new edition.  Holly is out walking Trixie when she takes off towards Rupert’s Grinch.  Inside, Holly finds the body of Dale Thackleberry.  Holly is asked to put her sleuthing skills to work and track down the killer.  Can Holly uncover the culprit before Christmas?  Is there a chance for Holly and Holmes?  There is if Holmes’ grandmother, Rose and Holly’s grandmother, Oma have anything to say about it.
Not a Creature was Purring was just delightful.  It has lovely, well-developed characters and a gorgeous setting.  Who would not want to live in Wagtail?  A place that welcomes people and fur babies.  Ms. Davis brings her characters and town to life with her descriptions.   I found the story to be well written and have a nice, steady pace.  My attention was grabbed right away, and it was held until the very last page (something I rarely say about a book).  It has two mysteries, Christmas spirit, secret Santa elves, a Christkindl Market, adorable dogs and cats, a couple of quirky characters, plenty of drama, a dash of humor and a touch of romance.  I found the murder mystery to be complex with a unique murder weapon.  There is misdirection, a couple of twists and several possible suspects (including Aunt Birdie). I believe many readers will be surprised by the killer’s identity.  I am giving Not a Creature was Purring 5 out of 5 stars (I loved it).  While Not a Creature was Purring is the fifth book in the series, it can be read alone.  There are human and pet recipes at the end of the book.  Personally, I find A Paws and Claws Mystery series delightful and have yet to miss each new installment.  Not a Creature was Purring is an entertaining cozy mystery that will put you in the Christmas spirit.  

Thank you for visiting and taking the time to read my review.  I will return tomorrow with my thoughts on A Bella Flora Christmas by Wendy Wax.  May you have a relaxing day during this hectic time of the year.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Canal Days Calamity: A Dog Days Mystery

Thank you for visiting today.  How are you doing on your Christmas preparations?  I am a long way from being ready.  Kappy King and the Puppy Kaper by Amy Lillard will be released on December 26.  It is the first book in An Amish Mystery series.

Canal Days Calamity by Jamie M. Blair is the second book in A Dog Days Mystery series.  Cameron Cripps-Hayman is organizing Canal Days with Roy, Johnna, Anna and Logan (Metamora Action Agency) as well as helping her sister, Monica get ready for the opening of Dog Diggity.  While painting polka dots on the outside of the building, Cameron discovers a man dead on the bench behind Dog Diggity.   The victim, Butch Landow, was shot in the head and unhappy with people wanting his farm for a casino.  Andy (Monica’s handyman) gets arrested for the crime and Cameron knows that the police have the wrong man.  Despite Ben’s warning not to meddle, Cameron assembles the Metamora Action Agency to uncover the killer and get Andy out of jail. 

I wanted to give A Dog Days Mystery series a second chance.  I quickly discovered that Canal Days Calamity is not my type of book (I am not into the humorous, wacky, over-the-top cozy mysteries).  Canal Days Calamity is not a standalone story.  You need to read Deadly Dog Days prior to Canal Days Calamity (details a reader needs are missing from this story).  The murder occurs in the first chapter which leads to a long book.  I thought the mystery was simple and can be solved early in the story.  There was one silly incident after another along with an annoying mother, teenage antics, family drama, lots of food, dogs and cats (oh my), and frequent use of the phrase “good gravy”.  I found people’s reactions over-the-top.  Cameron is married to Ben (a police officer), but she is separated from her husband.  There are currently “dating” and Cameron contacts him to get intel on the case (and then he tells her to stay out of it—and she does not listen).   Canal Days Calamity has a quaint small town that is pet friendly and a variety of quirky characters.  I am just not the right audience for this series.  I prefer more substance and less zany (just my preference).  I am giving Canal Days Calamity 3 out of 5 stars.

I will return tomorrow with my review of Not a Creature was Purring by Krista Davis.  The fifth cozy mystery in A Paws and Claws Mystery series.  May you have a delightful day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader