By: Livia J. Washburn
Publisher: NAL Trade
Publication Date: November 2012
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: December 2012
Weatherford, Texas was abuzz with excitement and a possible snowstorm lurking around the corner. A storm Phyllis Newsom could do without, but the bridal shower she planned for her good friend, Eve, simply had to go on. Phyllis, Carolyn, Sam, and Eve, all retired teachers, had shared her home and life for some time and Eve’s wedding to Roy Porter was an exciting event. They were all looking forward to Roy joining the household and the shower would be a marvelous kick off for the couple’s new life together. The storm held off and the Christmas Eve shower went ahead as planned. The only hitch was a “geriatric catfight” between Velma and Loretta, but even that couldn’t spoil the festivities.
The snowstorm held off, but there was another storm altogether brewing. Eve and Roy had left to take up residence at the Delaney’s bed-and-breakfast and weren’t coming back. What? It would be a disappointment to lose a part of the “family,” but Phyllis would get over it in time. An unfortunate visit from her son, Mike, a member of the Parker County Sheriff’s Department, would send everyone into a total frenzy. There was a bit of news that had to be relayed to Eve, who quickly lashed out over the news. “You! This is all your fault!” Phyllis was a “murder magnet,” but no way she went over to Delaney’s and thrust Eve’s letter opener in Roy’s throat.
Timothy Sullivan, the somewhat ill-mannered (try nasty) DA was trying to insinuate that there had been “more than one suspicious death” in Eve’s past. The thought was simply ludicrous at best, but was there something to the strange accusation? Phyllis was somewhat of a “prying, meddling, self-righteous old snoop,” but there was no way she was going to let anyone pin a murder rap on Eve. Sam Fletcher was definitely on her side, but some unexpected help came from a Tess Coburn, a PI who had some interesting dirt on Roy. Rather than go it alone, she was going to join forces with Tess to find out who really murdered that “lounge lizard,” Roy. Things weren’t working quite as planned when Sullivan confronted her. “Mrs. Newsom. I have to ask you to go with these officers.” Phyllis was under arrest!
Phyllis is anxious to clear her friend Eve of murder, but is she really innocent? Naturally she’s positive that gentle retired school teacher Eve couldn’t possible stab anyone with her little cat’s-head letter opener, but there are so many others who are suspect. Phyllis lines them up with aplomb and plenty of reasons why they could have done Roy in, but there are almost too many who wanted to do so. The plot is simple, but the underlying complications definitely deepen the mystery. Washburn carefully crafts the plot and weaves in details that only the serious cozy mystery buff can put together to nab the murderer. One sentence raised the alarm for me, but it wasn’t until much later that everything came together. If you want a quiet, but complicated cozy you have to unravel, this one is a killer!
Quill says: This simple cozy mystery, turned complicated, is one recipe for murder you won't want to miss!