Posies and Poison
Sweetfern Harbor Mystery #1
Mystic Owl Publishing LLC, July 2017
150 pages, ebook, paperback
Cozy mystery, location
I purchased this book as part of a 4 book bundle at the current price. This is my honest review for which I am not being compensated in any way.
Editing issues: extra words, missing words
Brenda Sheffield has just inherited her Uncle Randolph’s B&B in Sweetfern Harbor in New England. So, she’s leaving her job as the assistant to a Private Investigator in Michigan and moving to Sheffield Bed and Breakfast. She has wonderful memories of her one and only visit there when she was ten. It was a magical place and she and her uncle seemed to make a connection on that one visit.
Brenda hadn’t worked cases with the P.I., but she had had some good insight into things on the couple cases when he had asked for her input. Word has gotten around about her previous experience, so when Detective Mac Rivers asks for her help with the case, she’s quite willing to be consulted and help out.
Lady Pendleton is a most unlikable and unliked woman. She happens to be rich and own most of the town. She’s the local landlord and raises the rent constantly on both homes and businesses until she is on the point of driving people out. Or possibly to action. Someone’s taken action. Lady Pendleton was in a big hurry driving up to the Sheffield B&B, but she never made it inside. She died in her car. Brenda saw the whole thing and was on hand to give the report to the police.
The relationship that starts to bloom between the two investigators is sweet. Both are old enough to know what they want and go after it. Mac is a widower and his grown daughter is one of the town’s businesses. Brenda has never been married, but she’s old enough to have been in several relationships and been on her own enough to be sure of what she wants from life. She has the confidence of having lived in a larger metropolis, but Mac is shyer for having lived in a small town for the ten years since his wife died and he was raising his daughter by himself.
There is no shortage of suspects for this one. Mac’s own daughter is a prime suspect. She runs the flower shop and was having a run in with the deceased recently over the raised rent and plumbing problems. In fact, the deceased was suing her over the cost of the plumbing repairs. Jenny had been mouthing off about getting even with Lady Pendleton and a lot of people had heard her.
Molly runs the Morning Sun Coffee shop and the poison was administered in one of their coffee cups. Maybe Molly was the one that mixed her cappuccino with poison. Or Logan, wasn’t he the one who was tending the counter at Morning Sun Coffee that morning? Or was he late again that morning?
Phyllis Lindsey, Molly’s mother, is the housekeeper at the B&B. She’s already been run out of one job by Lady Pendleton. And she’s got a secret relationship going with William, the husband of Lady Pendleton. Could she have decided to get rid of Lady Pendleton to clear the way for she and William to be together? And Pete Graham, the mailman, who carried the secret mail between William and Phyllis. Was he in a hurry for his reward? Or was William in a hurry to get rid of his unlovable wife? Was he after her money and got tired of waiting? He didn’t seem the type, but you never know.
It could have been any of the tenants of Lady Pendleton who were just fed up with the constant raising of already high rents. But, as usual for a cozy, the answer came out of nowhere. There was no way we could have known that Carrie, the young gal who handles the reservations for the B&B had lost her home and everything else because of Lady Pendleton and that she was a wiz at chemistry. Or that she had taught Logan the one thing that he needed to know to do this. We didn’t know about Logan’s family’s history with Lady Pendleton either. We did know that Carrie and Logan were a couple, but you just don’t expect a young couple to be involved in murder. And then for the whole town to be behind getting the actual murderer off in the end.
The characters were created very nicely. Each one being an individual and not just a caricature of a character. None of them had great depth, but they all worked as people. The storyline was good, other than the surprise solution. This seems to be the way cozies roll. You seem to have to accept that about them. So far, I haven’t found one that actually gives you enough clues to solve the case. A hint here or there, but nothing like a hard mystery does. It would be quite interesting, I think to try another of these Sweetfern Harbor books to see what else happens in this nice little town. This first book introduces you to so many of the people in town, the merchants, at least. The second book in the series is Dead in Bed. I have books one through four, so I’m sure you’ll see them here when I get around to reading them.