by Sandra Murphy
This week we have new mysteries from two Kensington authors-Engaged in Death: A Wedding Planner Mystery by Stephanie Blackmoore, and Cracked to Death: A Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery by Cheryl Hollon. Details at the end of this post on how to win a copies of both, and a link to purchase them.
Engaged in Death: A Wedding Planner Mystery by Stephanie Blackmoore
Review by Sandra Murphy
Mallory Shepard knows exactly what she wants for her wedding to Keith. His mother, Helene, has other ideas and she’s not one to give in because she is always right. Mallory’s wedding with thirty guests turned into 300 hundred people at the country club. Helene vetoed the bridesmaid’s dresses, the menu, where they’ll live (she bought a nice lot for them in an upscale subdivision), and decided Mallory will give up her career as a lawyer as soon as she and Keith are married. After all, is Mallory really partner material?
After the disastrous meeting at the country club, Mallory and Keith were to visit his grandmother Sylvia in the nursing home. Instead he surprises her with that lot his mother bought for their new house. Things are in a downward spiral for sure. Mallory calls Sylvia and says they’ll visit the next day.
It’s a shock to get a phone call saying Sylvia has passed away. She was 99 years old, of course, but she sounded fine. When Mallory opens an envelope in the day’s mail, it’s a double shock. It’s photos of Keith in a very compromising position with Becca from his law firm. From the snow on the car, Mallory can figure their ‘friendship’ has been going on for five months at least. Now Mallory’s hiding out in a motel, skipping work, a shower, regular meals, and drowning her sorrows in vending machine snacks. Her sister Rachel shows up and tries to get Mallory at least clean, fed, and clothed.
Sylvia deeded her house and all its contents to Mallory which didn’t sit well with Keith and Helene. Although the house needs a ton of repairs, it’s structurally sound and an elegant old place. It’s also cheaper than a motel so Rachel and Mallory move in. Before they can even explore the whole house, Shane Hartley shows up. He wants to buy the property for fracking oil. Sylvia had not only turned him down but convinced her neighbors to do the same.
When Rachel finds Shane’s body on the front lawn the next morning, there are a lot of suspects to choose from—most people hated fracking because it poisoned well water and that made their properties impossible to sell.
There’s also a rumor that valuable paintings were hidden in the house. In spite of changed locks, someone is able to get inside to leave threats and to hunt for the paintings.
And once a second body is found in the kitchen, well, things really get sticky!
This is the first in a new series. It should be a long running one because this is one of the most entertaining first books I’ve read. Mallory and Rachel are a great pair of sisters, one sensible and one flighty but a good balance for each other. Summer, the pre-teen who lives in the house behind, is a treat as well as the three cats she rescued. Her dad, well, he might just be the right person to get Mallory past Keith’s betrayal.
Rachel shared recipes for orange whiskey cake, orange cream frosting, apple bacon scones, and rosemary cheese straws. Look for the next in the series, Murder Wears White, in February 2017.
Cracked to Death: A Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery by Cheryl Hollon
Review by Sandra Murphy
Savannah Webb is owner of a stained glass shop. As a summer project, she’s offering a class on how to recycle old bottles to be taught by her store manager, Amanda. One of the students, Martin, brings in very old blue glass bottles he found while snorkeling. Since rumors of pirate treasure run amok in St. Petersburg, Savannah wants to find out if the bottles are originals or copies.
Amanda’s first class went well, but for the second, Martin is absent. Amanda is acting weird. Her mother has been ill at the nursing home, but a lack of sleep and an excess of worry won’t account for all her weirdness. When Martin’s body is found, Amanda really falls apart. As time goes on, the phrase “But wait, there’s more!” comes to mind with Amanda’s evasions.
Savannah is hired as a consultant by the police department to verify the age of the glass bottles Martin had found. She feels this gives her the okay to ask a few questions of her own. With the help of Jacob, the young man who has Asperger’s works in the shop, his service dog, Suzy and Edward, owner of the fusion pub, Queen’s Head, she promises to get to the bottom of the mystery.
Savannah’s opened a new studio where crafters can rent space. Keeping up with it and the shop is a bit of a challenge. Add in solving the murder, and her time is stretched to the limit.
This is the third book in the Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery series. The secondary characters are distinct and likeable, Jacob especially. The information about working with glass is spread throughout the book without getting in the way of the story. Once Amanda comes clean on what was really going on, Savannah can make progress in figuring out what happened and why. Readers will surely look forward to her next predicament.
To enter to win a copy of both books, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “hollon blackmore,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 2, 2016. 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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