By: Amanda Flower
Publisher: Five Star
Publishing Date: February 2012
Reviewed by: Mary Lignor
Review Date: November 8, 2011
We are back with a wonderful sequel to Maid of Murder, a charming mystery by Amanda Flower. This book's main character, College Librarian India Hayes, is recruited by her sister Carmen to work at a face-painting booth at the Stripling, Ohio, Founders' Day Festival. Also, much to India's dismay, her sister wants her to wear a pink gingham pioneer dress, cap and Granny boots. She is on her way to the festival, which is being held on the grounds of Martin College as the story opens.
India first encounters her sister having an argument with a Football Coach who wants his practice field back. Then, that evening, she finds the body of a woman, basket weaver Tess Ross, who had a booth next to her. Tess was married to Jerry, a blacksmith, they have an adopted son, Derek, and some very greedy relatives.
India soon learns that Tess was the sister of her College Provost, Samuel Lepcheck, and that Derek, Tess' son, is a Library volunteer who has a crush on India. When Tess is killed, Derek begs India to find the person responsible. In a weak moment, she agrees. Police Detective Rick Mains pleads with India to keep out of the case and let the police handle it but, of course, that's out of the question. So, India finds herself working on the case, with her own family helping from the sidelines. Her Mom and Dad who are elderly flower children, her landlady who wants to be the sidekick to India's investigation, her friends and also a very endearing dog who has just inherited a two million dollar trust fund from the victim's brother, all get involved.
Murder in a Basket is an extremely well-written cozy containing all the necessary ingredients for a fascinating mystery. Said ingredients include the obvious sense of humor of the author. The protagonist, India, is the perfect example of the starving artist who works as a librarian, lives with her cat, and brings a fabulous dog into the story after his master passes away. Readers looking for an afternoon of pleasant reading will make this a one-day read.
Quill Says: This is the second installment in a fascinating new series. Pick this one up, you won't be sorry.