Title/Author: Marriage Is Pure Murder (A Blossom Valley Mystery) by Staci McLaughlin
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Kensington Press
Date of publish: May 2017
Wedding bells are ringing at the O’Connell Organic Farm and Spa in California’s postcard-perfect Blossom Valley. The entire staff is pitching in to send one of their own down the aisle. But no one knew the nuptials could turn up so many secrets—or that marriage and murder could go hand in hand . . .
Dana Lewis is marrying Jason Forrester, a talented reporter and the love of her life. She couldn’t dream of a better venue than the farm where she works, and her friends are determined to give her the wedding of her dreams. Even her florist, Bethany Lancaster, is making sure she has just the right flowers. But Dana’s happiness wilts when she finds Bethany shot dead—and discovers her friend was a busybody with a blackmail list longer than a cathedral veil. With so many enemies, finding Bethany’s killer seems all but impossible. And when Dana herself is eyed as a suspect, she’ll have to chase down the culprit faster than she can say, “I do”—or she’ll be trading in her wedding dress for prison stripes . .
This is a well thought out cozy murder mystery … I enjoyed the supporting cast and family who, against their better judgement, help Dana discover clues.
This book had the perfect mix of suspense, mystery, and humor. I had a hard time putting the book down so I could get other things done.
This was a fast-paced and enjoyable cozy.
The funny thing about kindle books is that I can never tell how thick they are and I was surprised to see that this book finished out at 350 pages, it read so fast and easy that it seemed much shorter.
As usual I find myself coming into a well established series with no previous experience (such is the life of a book blogger) and I was happy to see that it didn’t matter a bit. This book read well as a stand alone. The people in Dana’s life and in this small town seem like old friends even though I haven’t been along for the whole ride. The only issue I had was that a lot of faith was put into the investigator’s assumption of Dana’s innocence based on previous encounters, when there wasn’t much of a relationship between the two in this story for the reader to agree or disagree with the characters’ opinions.
Being practically accused of murder only days before your most special day has to be frustrating, but Dana handles herself well and solving other minor mysteries along the way just seems par for the course for her. Not to mention keeping up with all the last minute details of home spun wedding.
As always in a Cozy, I don’t look to the mystery to keep me entertained. It is the price of admission, but the reason I stay is pure story and characters and this story had plenty of both. I adored the dynamic between the sisters and loved getting smacked by the subtly of the relationship. Just at the point I was ready to write off Ashlee as a poorly written character more teen than her described almost thirty, the author manages to make clear the insecurities that would sure to be rife in the sister’s changing relationship as Dana is soon to be married and officially joins the adult world. Watching my nieces over the years, that particular scene hit home.
All in all this was a fun read and I am sure to keep returning to Blossom Valley. I am curious if Dana will ever see that she can market Wilbur as a de facto therapist at the spa. He could at least do a “Dear Wilbur” Column in the blog dispensing sage advice along side Dana’s tips and recipes, which are delightful, I might add.
I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review
Staci McLaughlin graduated from the California State University, East Bay before becoming a technical writer for a number of years. Now she is a stay-at-home mom and a cozy mystery writer in my spare time (Ha!). Once she can wrangle the kids into bed, my husband and I enjoy watching scary movies and playing both board games and video games.
She is currently a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, as well as a contributor to the LadyKillers blog at http://www.theladykillers.typepad.com/. She lives with my family in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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