5th in Series
Midnight Ink (June 8, 2018)
Paperback: 288 pages
Digital ASIN: B075W25FNF
I am super-excited today to provide a review at my blog stop for As the Christmas Cookie Crumbles by Leslie Budewitz on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.
Erin is one smart cookie, but can she keep the holiday spirit—and herself—alive till Christmas?
In Jewel Bay, all is merry and bright. At Murphy’s Mercantile, AKA the Merc, manager Erin Murphy is ringing in the holiday season with food, drink, and a new friend: Merrily Thornton. A local girl gone wrong, Merrily has turned her life around. But her parents have publicly shunned her, and they nurse a bitterness that chills Erin.
When Merrily goes missing and her boss discovers he’s been robbed, fingers point to Merrily—until she’s found dead, a string of lights around her neck. The clues and danger snowball from there. Can Erin nab the killer—and keep herself in one piece—in time for a special Christmas Eve?
Includes delicious recipes!
In this fifth book of the series, Erin Murphy is diving headlong into the Christmas season by participating in the annual Decorating Day with the downtown merchants of Jewel Bay, Montana. Erin is coordinating the festivities with food, drink, and little giveaways for customers of her shop, Murphy’s Mercantile, better known as the Merc. All the neighboring shops are inadvertently competing with the Thornton’s shop, nearby, who sets the bar at a new height each year. But it is Mrs. Thornton who rages against their daughter, Merrily, who recently returned to her hometown after a long estrangement that draws everyone’s attention away from their decorating efforts. Erin feels awful for the young woman, a few years older than herself, and invites her into the shop to help with lights and invites her to the cookie exchange on Sunday. Merrily left home almost twenty years ago after a scandal in which she was accused of embezzlement and sent to prison. She is hoping after all this time for a reconciliation. Most people aware of the history felt she was innocent and that there were extenuating circumstances.
Unfortunately, Merrily does not show up for the cookie exchange and Erin feels something is very wrong. Then she gets a call from Greg Taylor, who tried to give her a second chance when he hired her as a bookkeeper upon her return at his building supply store. Together they go out to her parents home and find her murdered in her parent’s barn. Despite the upcoming holidays and her wedding scheduled for Christmas Eve, Greg asks Erin to quietly look into the facts of Merrily’s death but to do so would also have her investigating the original embezzlement.
Erin and her fiancé, Adam Zimmerman, have been rehabbing her old family home and expecting to host several upcoming holiday and nuptial events. She is busy with the Merchants Association, working on all aspects of her wedding, including rehearsal dinner, dealing with a historic building in need of repairs, plotting her shop’s upcoming primary sales, organizing a manual for her employees for use while she is on her honeymoon, and interviewing persons associated with Merrily.
There is a host of characters, townspeople, shop employees, as well as Erin’s mother and fiancé who provide a developed sense of small town, winter conditions in Montana. Protagonist Erin presents a strong, independent, mature and level-headed nature. As with most cozies, Erin is a proprietor of some form of retail shop. Tackling the murder mystery is handled by her Excel spreadsheet, where she creates a timeline, and to examine possible motives and bad guys. There are twists and little surprises that add to the spicy fun of a well-plotted storyline. Also, as with most cozy reads, the plot begins rather slow and slow and steady sets the pace, while preserving that downtown Holiday atmosphere. Christmas in June! This entry in the series would still work well as a standalone. Get your copy and chill this summer!
Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and please visit the other stops listed below!
Leslie Budewitz is the author of the Food Lovers’ Village Mysteries and the Spice Shop Mysteries—and the first author to win Agatha Awards for both fiction and nonfiction. She lives in northwest Montana with her husband, a musician, and doctor of natural medicine, and their cat Ruff, a cover model, and avid bird-watcher.
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June 7 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
June 7 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies – REVIEW
June 7 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
June 8 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW
June 8 – The Montana Bookaholic – REVIEW
June 8 – Carole’s Book Corner – GUEST POST
June 9 – MJB Reviewers – REVIEW
June 9 – Texas Book-aholic – REVIEW
June 10 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW
June 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST
June 11 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
June 11 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT
June 11 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
June 12 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
June 12 – Island Confidential – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
June 12 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
June 13 – Valerie’s Musings – REVIEW
June 14 – cherylbbookblog – REVIEW
June 14 – My Reading Journeys – SPOTLIGHT
June 15 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
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June 17 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
June 18 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW
June 18 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
June 19 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW
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June 19 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – SPOTLIGHT
June 20 – Melina’s Book Blog – REVIEW
June 20 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST
Thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this cozy mystery!
©2018 V Williams