by Cynthia Chow
Details at the end of this post on how to win a copy of this book, along with a link to purchase it.
Retta is a heroic police officer’s widow, and she provides her sisters’ Smart Detective Agency with valuable social contacts while managing their late parents’ Michigan farm. But her bossiness is keeping her from being a full-fledged member of the detective agency run by Barbara Ann and Faye.
The farm’s tenants have abandoned the property without notice, and Faye puts her son and daughter-in-law in their place. She hopes this will keep her from needing to bail them out from yet another business failure.
The more the sisters learn about their previous tenants, the more they become concerned about their hasty exit. Ben McAdams was too sexist and inflexible even for his fundamentalist church, and he completely cowed his girlfriend Rose Isley and her three daughters. While Faye has the most emotional attachment to the farm, it’s Barbara and Retta who become most invested in the fate of the Isley girls.
At first glance, it’s easy to categorize the sisters. Barbara Ann is a former assistant district attorney and a complete rule-follower. Retta is a spoiled fashionista, and Faye is a peacemaker and reliable caregiver. Soon, though, the author shatters expectations: Faye is far from a martyr, Retta proves to be unexpectedly generous and intelligent, and Barb hides a criminal streak. Needing to bring order to a chaotic world, Barb regularly sneaks out and performs Correction Events (vandalizing and correcting grammatically incorrect signs).
What is refreshingly enjoyable about this series is how the sisters, despite constant bickering, always come to each other’s aid when needed. Each genuinely wants the best for her sisters—it’s just that the others may not want to hear it!
By this third in the series, each sister has been revealed to be more than a stereotype, and although they are all near their fifth decade they still are growing and changing. Retta may have to basically extort her way into the investigation, but Barbara is willing enough to bend and allow it. Their arguments are never mean-spirited, but are rather based in familiarity and a resigned acceptance of each other’s quirks. This is a reliably humorous and fun series that still carries the sentimentality of a family’s love. The mystery kicks into suspenseful motion with a clock ticking on a serious threat, and the result is a very funny novel with a thrilling edge.
To enter to win a copy of Murder in the Boonies, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Boonies,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 30, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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