Title: The Tell All (Locust Point Mystery Book #1) by Libby Howard
Genre: Currently #281 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Books, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Supernatural, Ghosts, and #968 in Kindle Store, Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Cozy
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Publication Date: July 24, 2017
Source: Direct request from Erin Zarro, Assistant for Libby Howard
Title and Cover: The Tell All – Cute, obvious cozy mystery
Kay Carrera is sixty and a recent widow with no support network of children or grand-children. Facing a silent home, she stops at a local shelter and picks out what appears to be an independent adult cat (aren’t they all) that shouldn’t require a lot of exercise or attention, but will be a warm body. A journalist prior to being a caregiver for her husband, she has managed to wrangle a position with a local PI as a skip-tracer. It still won’t be enough to forestall foreclosure on her beloved Victorian, so she accepts a suggestion from the realtor/friend to take on a boarder (a judge in the midst of a contentious divorce with two children). Also, she recently had cataract surgery and decides it’s time to learn to knit.
But the eye surgery leaves her with a small, but interesting side effect.
Oh my goodness, a female protagonist over the age of 35! First, Kay discovers that the most aloof cat in the shelter is actually a thigh buddy in fur. If she sits, Taco is in her lap, and definitely enjoys the comfort of her bed to his. The judge and his baggage might be more than she bargained for, but she’s already planning meals, buying soda for the kids, and baking pies. NOT in the boarding contract, but it’s nice to have people in the house. That’s good, because the knitting isn’t going so well. It’s just a simple washcloth, for heaven’s sake. How hard could it be?
The judge is predictably pre-occupied, dueling with his soon-to-be ex-wife, while trying to provide a place for his kids when he has his turn at custody. He is background, but comes to the fore to round out the scenario. His kids ( both teenagers, and particularly the older girl), are unsurprisingly sullen and obviously having difficulty with their parents’ current situation.
Kay’s neighbor, Daisy, is the perfect foil, over early every morning with an exercise pad for sunrise yoga and a bottle of wine in the evening willing to share any gossip she can glean. Daisy is a delightful character, though not wholly fleshed, adds dimension to the story.
It’s Kay’s job, however, that provides the plot for the book when one of her boss’s newly installed bail contracts goes missing.
Again, as I’ve noted before, it’s a cozy mystery and not designed to slam you into a multiple murder investigation with an heavily muscled 6’2″ testosterone driven ex-Marine. I enjoyed the page-turning information about this widow and how she is dealing with her new life. Ms. Howard paints a comfortable setting, and it’s not like Kay is all alone in a big, cold world. You have time to get to know Kay. She seems real and she is coping. She is still quite capable and proves to be efficient when required.
When the plot heats up, it’s a gulper, and you’ll have to look at the cover again to remind yourself this is a cozy mystery with a 60 year old protagonist. If she’s turning amateur sleuth, she methodical, intelligent, and reasonably careful about it. She won’t be whipping out a .45.
Okay, okay, it’s not all that difficult to figure out the antagonist. Actually, Ms. Howard paints a fairly direct picture. But it’s the subject that still has me shaking my head. WOW! I did NOT see that coming! For a light-hearted mystery, this turns a dark subject pretty black.
The only thing I can’t really buy is the quirky results of her cataract surgery. Ms. Howard has obviously never enjoyed that experience and I don’t remember it’s among the disclosures you sign previous to the procedure. Perhaps she could assign paranormal activity to something else? A bonk on the noggin?
It’s a neat little story and holds your interest to the end. The apparent ghost activity is a twist to the fun, but once the plot gets down to serious business, it wraps up pretty quickly. I liked the way Ms. Howard spins her yarn (pun intended) and as this was the first in a 3-part series would be interested in reading the others.
I received this download from Ms. Howard’s assistant; thank you Erin! Thoroughly enjoyed the read and can heartily recommend whether or not you qualify for seniorhood.
Rosepoint Publishing: Four Point Five of Five Stars
The Author: (from Amazon Author page) “Libby Howard lives in a little house in the woods with her sons and two exuberant bloodhounds. She occasionally knits, occasionally bakes, and occasionally manages to do a load of laundry. Most of her writing is done in a bar where she can combine work with people-watching, a decent micro-brew, and a plate of Old Bay wings.” Libby Howard is a Goodreads author. ©2017 Virginia Williams