Well-Offed in Vermont
In bucolic small-town Vermont, Stella Thornton Buckley feels out of her element—and not just because she's fresh from Manhattan. Mere hours after moving to maple syrup country, she and her husband, Nick, find a dead man, Allen Weston, in their well. The police investigation forces the couple out of their lovely farmhouse and—since the motels are packed with leaf peepers—into a less than luxurious deer camp. Instead of mourning the loss of electricity and running water, Stella and Nick drive their Smart Car all over the Vermont hamlet to question the quirky locals about Weston, a shrewd businessman who rubbed a lot of folks the wrong way. Stella and Nick may never shed their flatlander reputation, but they just might be able to make a few friends and help Sheriff Mills solve a murder.
Well-Offed in Vermont by Amy Patricia Meade has Stella and Nick Buckley moved to Vermont. Nick has gotten his dream job with the forest service, and the couple have purchased a farmhouse that needs some updates. They are having a romantic first evening in their new home when they are interrupted by their neighbor with a plate of cupcakes. Stella goes to wash frosting off her hands and finds the water running blood red. Nick and Stella find Allen Weston dead inside the well. Sheriff Mills declares their home a crime scene. All the local motels and hotels are full of leaf peepers. Fortunately, Alma, the owner of the local bakery, knows of a vacant cabin. Her brother’s hunting cabin is available for the next week. Stella is shocked when she sees the rustic abode that has no electricity or running water. When Stella learns that the sheriff will not let them return to their home until the case is solved, she decides the couple need to be proactive. Stella and Nick toddle around town in their yellow smart car asking questions and looking for clues. Will they be able to solve the mystery so they can return their home with a comfortable mattress, electricity, and running water?
Well-Offed in Vermont is the first book in A Vermont Country Living Mystery (previously known as Pret’ Near Perfect Mystery). The author takes the time to introduce us to the central characters and the town. The descriptions of Vermont are beautiful. I can understand why the town is besieged with leaf peepers. Stella is an expert on medieval textiles for which she cannot get a job for in Vermont. She is smart and has good instincts. Stella is a natural born sleuth. There are some great secondary characters that include Sheriff Mills and Alma. The mystery was straightforward. There are several suspects along with a red herring or two. One clue is all that is needed to solve the whodunit. I hope the mystery is more of a challenge in future books. I found the pacing to be a little on the slow side and there was a lot of repetition (we are told at least two dozen times that the Buckley’s drive a smart car). I was also a little put off by the intimate scene in the beginning between Stella and Nick. I do not feel the scene was needed (couple getting cozy in front of the fire). It is a cozy mystery, and we are just getting to know the characters (it could have been written differently). Overall, Well-Offed in Vermont is a cute beginning to this new series. The author definitely captured the flavor of Vermont, and I enjoyed the humor scattered throughout the story. Well-Offed in Vermont is a fun cozy mystery with red water, a sunny smart car, a smitten sheriff, a busy baker, a unique neighbor, a vile victim, and a curious couple.
Well-Offed in Vermont is available from Amazon*. The 2nd A Vermont Country Mystery is Short-Circuited in Charlotte. You can find Amy Patricia Meade's other novels here. Thank you for reading my review today. I will return on Monday to share my thoughts on Flying Angels by Danielle Steel which releases Tuesday, November 23. I hope that you have sunny day. Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader
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