This is the first in a series by Amy Lillard. I selected the book initially due to its setting in Mississippi. The cozy started out a bit slow as the characters and town are introduced but once the mystery got going it was able to hold my attention. In fact, as it ended I found myself anxiously reading to find out who was the guilty party.
Arlo and Chloe are best friends who own a Bookstore and Coffee shop together in Sugar Springs. They know each other from high school and have chosen to establish their roots in the small town where they met. Others from their graduating class did not opt to remain in town and their return plays a major plot theme in the book. Beyond the returning best selling author, Wally Harrison, there is also the return of Arlo's 2 high school sweethearts. The sudden return of Sam adds to the romantic tension Arlo is already trying to avert after Mads has returned to be a Police Chief in the town. As in most cozy stories this is a side plot for much of the book, particularly since Arlo's Godmother, Helen, and her friends are insisting on attempting to play matchmaker.
This tension is a distraction to Arlo as she attempts to find who is guilty and get her friend released from jail. She feels pressured to conduct her investigation in a timely manner due to the deal she struck with Mads to keep her friend in the town jail rather than sending her out to the County lockup. Additionally as the grieving widow and assistant are being freed to leave town her panic rises. All of this pressure is well conveyed to the reader and I found myself racing to finish the book as though I too had a deadline.
While this was not my favorite cozy starting out it because it just didn't get to the solving of the mystery very quickly, it definitely caught my attention at the end of the book and I will explore further tomes in the series.
Can't Judge a Book By Its Murder by Amy Lillard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Suspenseful til the end
After a somewhat slow start the book.picked up pace and was more engaging. The characters are a great group of quirky friends trying to help.one of their own prove her innocence. There is plenty of small town drama and history going back years to high school at the center of the story. The ending sets up a potential carry over to the next book
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The Challenge Prompts I will use this for are:
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- Crime Scenes
- Row 4
- Street or sidewalk
- Row 1
- Poison, poisoned food
- Row 4
- Push or fall