Hello! In addition to it being Ask a Stupid Question Day it is also Be a Good Neighbor Day! Are you a good neighbor? I am one of those people that would be happy living on a house in the middle of ten acres with no neighbors. I was so shy growing up that I lack conversational skills (and patience). Neighbors just seem to lead to trouble (over property lines, noise issues, etc.) It could be that I have just not had the right neighbor (or its me--no, it couldn't be)! My father is the one who is good at talking to people. He loves chatting especially about sports (he really should have had a son).
A Beeline to Murder by Meera Lester is the first book in A Henny Penny Farmette Mystery series. Abigail Mackenzie is thirty-seven years old and is hard at work on her farmette (a small residential farm). She supplements her income by being a private investigator (helping the local DA with cases). Abby also has honey bees and sells honey. Her best customer is Chef Jean-Louis Bonheur and his pastry shop. When Abby arrives to deliver his lavender honey, no one answers. She discovers Chef Jean-Louis dead in the kitchen. It looks like he was strangled. Abby immediately calls the police. Abby was a police officer for seven years until her hand was injured (her thumb is not consistently stable which means she cannot shoot a gun). Her friend, Officer Katerina “Kat” Petrovky is the officer assigned the case (Abby is thankful that Chief Bob Allen did not show up).
The preliminary investigation concludes it was suicide. The victim’s brother, Philippe Bonheur does not believe it. He knows that his brother would never kills himself and even had a trip to the Caribbean planned for his birthday. Philippe hires Abby to investigate the crime and prove it was murder. Abby investigates the crime with Philippe’s help in between taking care of her chickens, swarming bees (moving to a new location), handling Sugar (Chef Jean-Louis’ dog), and planting appropriate plants for her bees. Abby can really use the money from the case to help fix up her house (which needs work). Will Abby be able to prove Chef Jean-Louis was murdered? Who wanted Chef Jean-Louis dead?
I enjoyed reading A Beeline to Murder. It is a cute cozy mystery with the lovely setting of Las Flores, California. Abby Mackenzie is a likeable main character, but I wish we were given more information about her. The information we are given is given out in little bits throughout the story (which I found frustrating). We are not given a lot of information about the other characters in the book (I do know that Philippe is extremely handsome as it was mentioned several times). I think the characters just need to be fleshed out a little bit (given life). The author provided good clues to the mystery and provided a little twist at the end. I found the person responsible for the crime to be obvious, but that could just be me (I picked out the person responsible not long after the character was introduced). Overall, it is a good first book. I will definitely read the next book in the series. The one thing I did not like was that the crime happened almost immediately at the beginning of the story. I think we needed a little more of an introduction before we get to the dead person. I give A Beeline to Murder 4 out of 5 stars. The books does provide some great tips on taking care of bees, making good honey, and the right type of fauna to plant for bees (makes me wish I was not allergic to them).
I received a complimentary copy of A Beeline to Murder from NetGalley (and the publisher) in exchange for an honest review.
I am currently reading Joy of Witchcraft by Mindy Klasky (it is a fun book to read). Have a lovely evening and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader