Aloe and Goodbye
A Southwestern Small Town Cozy Mystery (Ruby Shaw Mysteries)
by Janice Peacock
About Aloe & Goodbye
New Yorker Ruby Shaw arrives in a hillside town in Arizona with a brand-new name, a duffel bag on her shoulder, and her daughter, Allie, at her side. Before arriving, Ruby witnesses a murder that lands her in the witness protection program. That decision means she’s gone from being a successful artist to being a nobody in a postage-stamp-sized town called Paradise—a name that doesn’t fit the former ghost town. Even though their new digs are a little shabby, and there may be ghosts haunting the town, they are optimistic about their new lives, that is, until a neighbor turns up dead.
Having just arrived in town, living next door to the victim, and without an alibi, the community members are suspicious of Ruby. A local deputy befriends her, but the deputy still points to her as the culprit each time they find a new clue. If matters weren’t bad enough, Allie is having trouble fitting in at her new school, and Ruby can’t seem to hold down a job.
As they settle in, they meet the quirky inhabitants of Paradise: Bette—the chatterbox café owner, Flora—Allie’s eccentric babysitter, and Derek—who runs local history tours, which he jazzes up with ghost stories of questionable veracity.
Ruby’s life improves when she meets a handsome cook at the local café who is passionate about succulents and cacti, and may feel equally passionate about her. Even though Ruby and Allie want to stay in Paradise, a US marshal has other ideas, as he threatens to move them to a new town after Ruby gets mixed up in the murder investigation. Ruby must find the killer before she and Allie lose their new home or even worse—their lives.
About Janice Peacock
Aloe and Goodbye by Janice Peacock has Ruby Shaw and her daughter, Allie relocating to Paradise, Arizona. They have been relocated to this small town by WITSEC after Ruby (not her real name) witnessed a murder in Las Vegas. The first night, Ruby notices a ghost tour visit the home next door. The next morning, Ruby notices the police outside the home. She soon learns that the owner had been murdered. Ruby finds herself being questioned by Deputy Sheriff Darla Cotton who eyes her suspiciously. She seems to know that Ruby is hiding something (which she is). Ruby finds herself a person of interest on her first day in the new town. Ruby finds herself stumbling upon clues which do little to prove her innocence. Her attempts to stay under the radar are not successful. Ruby and Allie could find themselves relocated before they can say cactus. Aloe and Goodbye is the first novel in the Ruby Shaw Mysteriess. This is an easy-to-read story that moves along at a good pace. I like the concept of the main character being in WITSEC. It is unique for a cozy mystery. Paradise is a former ghost town that is full of gossips. Rumors seem to travel at the speed of light. Paradise has some quirky residents with my favorite being a local artist who watches Allie after school. The mystery was straightforward with a small suspect pool. There is misdirection to distract reads from the true culprit. I laughed at the one-of-kind weapon used in the story. I like Deputy Sheriff Darla Cotton and Ruby’s handler (US Marshall), Victor Wilson. Ruby meets the local diner cook, Luke who makes her heart beat faster. I did feel the romance was misplaced in this book. It was a little too much too soon considering Ruby and Allie have uprooted their lives and someone could kill them at any moment. Just to let you know there are a couple of curse words in the story. There is humor scattered throughout the story that had me laughing. I like how Aloe and Goodbye ended. I am curious to see what happens next with Ruby Shaw and her daughter, Allie. Aloe and Goodbye is a cute cozy with a darling dog, an accommodating marshal, a job journey, school struggles, a local letch, and an incommodious murder.
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