Review of Aloe and Goodbye

Aloe and Goodbye

Ruby Shaw Mysteries, Book #1

Janice Peacock

5 Stars


After being placed in witness protection, Ruby Shaw and her daughter move to the former ghost town of Paradise, Arizona, which is nothing like its name implies. The US marshal handling their case has this advice: Fly under the radar—but that’s difficult to do after their neighbor is murdered.


New Yorker Ruby Shaw arrives in a hillside town in Arizona with a brand-new name, a duffel bag on her shoulder, and her daughter, Allie, at her side. Before arriving, Ruby witnesses a murder that lands her in the witness protection program. That decision means she’s gone from being a successful artist to being a nobody in a postage-stamp-sized town called Paradise—a name that doesn’t fit the former ghost town. Even though their new digs are a little shabby, and there may be ghosts haunting the town, they are optimistic about their new lives, that is, until a neighbor turns up dead.

Having just arrived in town, living next door to the victim, and without an alibi, the community members are suspicious of Ruby. A local deputy befriends her, but the deputy still points to her as the culprit each time they find a new clue. If matters weren’t bad enough, Allie is having trouble fitting in at her new school, and Ruby can’t seem to hold down a job.

As they settle in, they meet the quirky inhabitants of Paradise: Bette—the chatterbox café owner, Flora—Allie’s eccentric babysitter, and Derek—who runs local history tours, which he jazzes up with ghost stories of questionable veracity.

Ruby’s life improves when she meets a handsome cook at the local café who is passionate about succulents and cacti, and may feel equally passionate about her. Even though Ruby and Allie want to stay in Paradise, a US marshal has other ideas, as he threatens to move them to a new town after Ruby gets mixed up in the murder investigation. Ruby must find the killer before she and Allie lose their new home or even worse—their lives. (Goodreads)


Aloe and Goodbye is the first book in the Ruby Shaw Mystery series and it is a good beginning.  The characters are engaging and the storyline is unique.

Ruby has a lot on her plate, the least of all keeping her and her daughter alive.  She has witnessed a murder and has been placed in witness protection.  And to make matters worse, shortly after arriving at their new home, a neighbor is found dead and since she is new to the neighborhood, she is considered a suspect.  Just one more thing for Ruby to have to deal with.

The characters are well rounded and well developed.  Ruby meets some of the neighbors and, unfortunately, some of the law enforcement personnel too.   She has a lot of interactions with US Marshal Victor Wilson, who is her lifeline on the witness protection program.  It will be fun to see how important he is in future books.

The author is very talented in her descriptive writing and these descriptions pulled me into the story from the very beginning.  The writing style flows smoothly and the book is an easy read.  The mystery was well plotted and it was not easily solved.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well crafted cozy mystery.  I cannot wait to read the next one.

Aloe and Goodbye: A Southwestern Small Town Cozy Mystery (Ruby Shaw Mysteries Book 1) by [Janice Peacock]