Queensville has great expectations for their Dickens Days festival. A tourist-trade boom means a big turnout for the opening of Queensville Historic Manor and, for Jaymie Leighton, food columnist and vintage cookware collector, a chance to promote the manor and give away homemade goodies.
At the end of a long day of festival fun, Jaymie discovers the battered body of local woman Shelby Fretter. Shelby predicted her own murder in journal entries, and all clues point to Cody Wainwright, the troubled son of Jaymie's beleaguered newspaper editor. But considering that the entire Fretter family has its share of dirty secrets, Jaymie's not convinced by the case against Cody. With twists all over, she's going to have to work like the Dickens to wrap up this investigation before Christmas - especially with the real killer ready to kill again.
©2015 Donna Lea Simpson (P)2015 Tantor
Artist & Journeyman Composter
The author seemed to be in her stride with this tale: Jaimie's delightful ability to be a hub in her community and a caring, available good friend is very smooth; her gorgeous new beau is the kind of man a spiritually and psychologically healthy woman would want; her business and volunteerism are going well, and, she seems gently determined to avoid being where any future murder will happen, and to not be the first to discover it, as seems to happen with her. She really can't help it; they just seem to occur nearby!
It is late autumn, nearly winter, when she and many others are preparing for Dicken Days, to be celebrated in both downtown Queensville (how I would like to visit there!) and the newly renovated Historic Mansion, with an authentic old stove Jaimie will be using to bake her contribution of treats to sell.
One evening, needing to check on something in the kitchen's larder, she bundles up and trundles to the Mansion on slippery sidewalks, and finds, to her, and our, deep distress, even horror, a young woman with a somewhat confused and dubious reputation, nearly dead, her head bleeding, maybe broken. Jaimie nearly panics because she did not bring her phone for what was supposed to be a quick trip, but runs out and collars some help.
The young girl sadly,does not improve, expiring during the night.
Jaimie feels unhappy with her inability to help and, contrary to her promise to the Chief of Police, does her own, this time , subtle and more quiet investigation.
Here the author shines; the obvious suspect is Jaimie's own boss' son. even we believe he could have done it, but Jaimie finds many other threads leading to many others with interesting involvement and possible dark motive.
This part of the story is enthralling. But, you will be surprised at the conclusion!
All in all, I have enjoyed this series. The author introduces and familiarizes you with the characters most prevalent, so you don't get lost, retaining clear mental pictures of them. The stories have love, connection, friendship, community as background for the shock of the murders, so you feel that life and people are basically good. The unveiling of the suspects is always interesting, and you'll never be bored; your attention is captured but you can knit or sew or do something that doesn't require a lot of brain power and be simultaneously entertained.
I do recommend listening to them in order because, one, the first and last mysteries are the best, and two,you will get to share Jaimie's growth, and friendships as she negotiates through the upsetting loss of a long time boyfriend, becoming more confident in what she loves and getting better at making these talents a real contribution to herself and others.
This is a light fluffy cozy mystery. The mystery was well plotted with twists and turns. However, I felt like I missed something with the romantic element of the story. The two love interest in the first 4 books had moved on and out of town which allowed Jaymie to get involved with someone completely different. Although the character of Jakob is more suitable for jaymie, the disappearance of the other two guys through me for a loop. Other than that the story was easy to listen to and light. I look forward to the next book in the series.
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