By: Hannah Reed
Publication Date: May 2011
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: May 4, 2011
If Story could chase after her bees any faster in her metallic purple flip-flops she’d undoubtedly be a contender for the Preakness. The colony had abandoned her with a flair and were making a beeline for the Oconomowoc River. They would perish if left to their own devices, but she would too if she kept chasing them. Story would have to enlist the help of her sister, Holly, who had married money bags Max, and would use any excuse NOT to help her out, including the fact that she was afraid of bees. There was no time to fret over her predicament because she had to get back to her store, the Wild Clover, to see if cousin Carrie Ann was tending shop or home nursing a bender. Naturally when she showed up at the store Carrie Ann turned things around wondering if she’d been “rolling around in the hay” with Hunter Wallace. The thought was lovely (scrumptious actually), but Story couldn’t even entertain thinking about her “almost boyfriend,” with all the work to be done.
Moraine, Wisconsin was one of those towns that brought ‘em out of the woodwork and they all managed to end up browsing the aisles of the Wild Clover. Inevitably real estate agent Lori Spandle, who once slept with her husband, would show up to harass her about getting rid of her bees and then make her way up aisle one to “squeeze fruit and eat grapes.” Puh-lease! As a harbinger of things to come, when Story conducted her candle-making class later that afternoon things got even weirder. A strange woman, bedecked in oversized clothing and a daffy brown wig, almost curled her nose hairs with an overwhelming smell of death. Eyebrows began to raise because everyone except Story realized that weirdo was none other than Laura Kerrigan, a woman who had run over police chief Wayne Jay not once, but twice in the Lost Mile and rumor had it she was back to kill again.
When things started to tone down, Story enlisted Holly and pesky Patti Dwyre to help her search for her lost colony of bees. All that stuff about Lauren, the Lost Mile, and the crunched up chief of police had happened sixteen years before, but things have a way of creeping up on you when you least expect it. Slinking around looking for bees in the puckerbrush soon brought up more memories than they counted on. When they heard a couple of gunshots they all cringed at the thought of that creepy Lantern Man who used to terrorize them. Moraine’s population was down by two and once again Story appeared to be in the thick of things. Johnny Jay, current police chief, son of Wayne, and Story’s nemesis, would soon be asking questions. “You’re telling me that you and your sister just happened to be in this exact location mere hours before you just happened to find this body?”
The colorful cast of characters, minus two corpses of course, is back and livening up Moraine, Wisconsin once again. I was delighted with Dinky, the new addition to the cast, whose introduction began with a little tinkle on Story’s lovely purple flip-flops. It has been said that some recipes simply get better with age and the recipe for this series has been brewing up wonderfully and won’t disappoint. The humor and small town charm is back with a vengeance and the hint of future romance in the series will keep the reader anxious for more. I missed seeing more of Grams in this one, but Story’s Mom, Helen, was still at it . . . “We used to be such a respectable family. What happened?” If you want to know what the buzz is in Moraine, you’ll just have to read the book!
Quill says: This second Queen Bee Mystery is bubbly, bedazzling, and will buzz your socks off.