Susan Breen introduces a charming new series heroine in this poignant and absorbing cozy mystery with a bite. Maggie Dove thinks everyone in her small Westchester County community knows everyone else’s secrets. Then murder comes to town.
When Sunday School teacher Maggie Dove finds her hateful next-door neighbor Marcus Bender lying dead under her beloved oak tree—the one he demanded she cut down—she figures the man dropped dead of a mean heart. But Marcus was murdered, and the prime suspect is a young man Maggie loves like a son. Peter Nelson was the worst of Maggie’s Sunday School students; he was also her late daughter’s fiancé, and he’s been a devoted friend to Maggie in the years since her daughter’s death.
Maggie can’t lose Peter, too. So she sets out to find the real murderer. To do that, she must move past the grief that has immobilized her all these years. She must probe the hidden corners of her little village on the Hudson River. And, when another death strikes even closer to home, Maggie must find the courage to defend the people and the town she loves—even if it kills her. (Amazon)
This cozy is very different from most of the other cozies that I have read. Most of those cozies are lighthearted and humorous and make you feel like you would like to visit the home town and the characters. This cozy was much darker and sad. I do like the fact that it was unique in this way.
The characters are well developed and well rounded, but none of them are very likable. This is only my opinion and other readers may find the characters more likable than I did. Maggie is mourning the loss of her daughter 20 years ago and she is a rather bitter person. She complains about everybody and has a very negative outlook on life. She even fights and argues with her supposedly best friend, Winifred, who is mean and argumentative and I did not really believe that they were friends. It was hard for me to believe that she was a Sunday School teacher because she had such uncharitable thoughts about everyone. At time she felt bad about those thoughts and tried to think more positively about others, but she kept failing at that. I do give her credit for trying to be more positive.
The author is very talented in her descriptive writing. Whether reading about the characters or the small town atmosphere, I felt like I was right there as part of the story. The Westchester County community was a typical small town with gossiping and busybodies and people getting into other’s business, which I enjoyed reading about.
The mystery is carried on well throughout the entire book. There are enough suspects, clues and twists and turns to keep this reader guessing throughout the whole book.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a different type of cozy, with a darker side and an older protagonist. I will read the next book in the series already knowing that things are not sunshine and rainbows in Maggie’s life.
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group-Alibi for the opportunity to read and review this book.