August is here! The Hope Jar by Wanda Brunstetter comes out on August 7. You can pick up a free preview of the book on Amazon (it is such a heartwarming Amish novel). Death on the Menu by Lucy Burdette also comes out on August 7 along with To Catch a Witch by Heather Blake (I cannot wait for this one).
Poppy Harmon Investigates by Lee Hollis is the first novel in A Desert Flowers Mystery series. Poppy Harmon is shocked when she learns that her recently deceased husband, Chester gambled away all their money and left her deeply in debt. Poppy with the aid of her two friends, Iris Becker and Violet Hogan open The Desert Flowers Detective Agency. Unfortunately, people do not want to hire three mature women to solve their cases. That is when Poppy recruits her daughter’s actor boyfriend, Matt Cameron to be the face of the agency. Matt, though, prefers a more hands on approach. Their first client is entertainer, Shirley Fox who lost uninsured jewelry in a recent break in at her home in the Palm Leaf Retirement Village. It turns out that there have been a rash of burglaries in the complex. Shirley wants the agency to retrieve her cache of jewels. While investigating the thefts, Poppy finds actress, Olivia Hammersmith dead in her home. Are the thefts and the murder connected? Poppy, Iris, and Violet along with Matt are determined to get answers and make a success of their fledgling business.
Poppy Harmon Investigates has an adorable cover and it is what drew me to the book. I thought the book was easy to read. It is a little bit of a slow starter, but the pace picks up as you get further into the story. The author took the time to set up Poppy’s character along with Iris, Violet, Heather and Matt. Poppy, Rose and Violet are lively ladies in their 60s who are ready to take on a new challenge. How Poppy obtained her private investigators license was a little farfetched. Her “experience” does not qualify her for the work. The mystery did not begin until I was 40% into the story when the agency is hired to investigate Shirley’s jewelry theft. The murder does not occur until later in the book and I wish it had been more of a feature. It is an interesting mystery. The two mysteries are not difficult to solve especially for those readers who devour cozy mysteries. There is humor sprinkled throughout the story (my mother laughed her way through the book). She thought the ladies and Matt’s antics were quite entertaining. I was not fond of Heather and her treatment of her mother. She feels that it is silly for her mother to embark on this venture at her age and does not hesitate to let Poppy know what she thinks repeatedly (it was inappropriate and uncomfortable). Heather does not appreciate Matt getting involved in her mother’s shenanigans (Heather’s words). Iris has her grandson, Wyatt set up their website and utilizes him for his other handy computer skills (hacking). I did not like how they encouraged his hacking (and hope that they do not get caught). The interactions between Poppy, Iris and Violet are delightful and their hijinks will have you giggling. My rating for Poppy Harmon Investigates is 3 out of 5 stars. A Desert Flowers Mystery series has potential. I hope the author will add a more compelling mystery in the next book that is the focus of the story and develop the characters further. Poppy Harmon Investigates is a light, amusing cozy mystery that will appeal to fans of Lee Hollis.
Lee Hollis also writes A Hayley Powell Food and Cocktails Mystery series. I will return tomorrow with my review of Midnight Snacks are Murder by Libby Klein. It is the second novel in A Poppy McAllister Mystery series. I hope that you have a sunshiny day. Take care and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader
The Avid Reader