It is my privilege to provide a review for you today at the blog stop for Mining for Murder by Mary Angela on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.
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“Underestimate me. That will be fun.”
Mining for Murder (A Happy Camper Mystery)
3rd in Series
Setting – South Dakota
Lyrical Press (April 5, 2022)
Print length : 275 pages
Digital ASIN : B0992TPJ24
Zo Jones is enjoying the sunny season at her Happy Camper gift shop in Spirit Canyon, South Dakota—when a murder reminds her all that glitters isn’t gold. .
The South Dakota Gold Rush might be long over, but Zo Jones feels like she’s hit the mother lode when she and her friends browse an estate sale, where a rare old book about the history of Spirit Canyon is causing quite a commotion. In addition to local stories and secrets, the book may even contain the location of a famous stash of gold—a treasure worth killing for.
Zo’s friend Maynard Cline wins the bid on the book, to the chagrin of many interested parties, including the historical society and college history department. But when Zo and Hattie head to Maynard’s mansion to borrow the book for a library event, the only thing they find is Maynard—at the bottom of the mountain. The valuable book is gone. Zo knows this must be murder because there’s no way a germophobe like Maynard would have voluntarily dived into a pile of dirt. Now she’ll have to dig into a new case, and go prospecting for a perpetrator . . .
The third in the series Mining for Murder continues the saga of the Happy Camper mysteries which takes place in mystical Spirit Canyon in the Black Hills and Badlands of South Dakota. The area is a tourist mecca in the summer central to major attractions such as Mount Rushmore.
This is where Zo Jones set up her Happy Camper gift shop. She offers everything from souvenirs to memorabilia. Her unique ideas for decoration and promotion keep her shop lively and sustainable through the long non-tourist months.
Jules, a (spirit) shop owner herself, plays a strong supportive role and Max, a forest service ranger, is back as the growing love interest.
When a long time resident with a substantial collection passes away, a valuable book on the history of the area goes missing about the time the man who outbid those who should have received the book is found dead. Zo would like to find the book as she is sure it will contain a possible clue to her birth mother—as well as help to find the perp.
But the missing book may contain more than the hint of her origins—it may also include information on The Theon Stone and clues to gold mines long rumored about the explosive gold mining era—riches hidden just waiting to be discovered.
There are a number of support characters that build interest in the population of the little town, including law enforcement who’s had to warn Zo before to let him do his job while she tends her shop.
I greatly enjoyed the first book in the series, Open for Murder, and looked forward to a well-plotted and fast-paced book with well-drawn characters. Also appreciated are the descriptions of the area, the topography, quirky weather, and wildlife. As with the previous entry, there is strong dialogue patterns that sound natural and personal growth in the protagonist.
“The past is never really the past, is it?”
I love reading about the history of these areas, steeped in folklore, indigenous peoples, and wild west experiences. I had a few problems, however, with her descriptions of riding (her Kawi motorcycle—perhaps she doesn’t ride?) and the reveal in the conclusion.
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Mary Angela is the author of the Happy Camper cozy mystery series, the Professor Prather academic mystery series, and several short stories. When Mary isn’t penning heartwarming whodunits, she’s teaching, reading, traveling, or spending time with her family. She lives in South Dakota with her husband, daughters, and spoiled pets. You can find out more about her loves, including her writing, at MaryAngelaBooks.com.
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Thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this cozy mystery!
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