I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Open for Murder by Mary Angela on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to enter your chance to win the Giveaway!
Open for Murder (A Happy Camper Mystery)
1st in Series
Publisher: Lyrical Press (November 24, 2020)
Paperback: 207 pages
Digital ASIN: B085LTP1XH
Deep in the heart of touristy small-town Spirit Canyon, South Dakota, former journalist Zo Jones runs the Happy Camper gift shop, where she sells everything from locally made souvenirs to memorabilia. She even rents out mountain bikes, and dabbles in the adventure industry—and sleuthing . . .
It’s Memorial Day weekend in Spirit Canyon, and for Zo that means the return of summer shoppers. It also means the return of her good friend Beth, who’s moved back to the area to reopen her family’s premier hotel, Spirit Canyon Lodge. Beth and Zo spent many childhood summers there and Zo can’t wait to reconnect and celebrate the Grand Opening. But the festivities go from bad to worse when a power outage knocks out the lights—and morning reveals a competitor’s dead body found on the premises . . .
Soon enough, Beth is the prime suspect in the suspicious death. Fortunately, Zo isn’t afraid to put her investigative skills to work and prove her friend’s innocence. To start digging for information, she appeals to Max Harrington, a local Forest Ranger and unlikely ally. Though they’ve argued about Happy Camper’s tours, in this case they agree on one thing: Beth isn’t a murderer. Stranger things have happened than their collaboration. After all, this is Spirit Canyon. But as the list of suspects grows, Zo will have to keep her guard up if she doesn’t want to be the next lodge guest to check out . . .
Memorial Day weekend in Spirit Canyon, deep in the heart of South Dakota, state of Mt. Rushmore National Memorial. Zo Jones owns a small touristy gift shop she named the Happy Camper and, being one very smart cookie, sells everything a tourist might want from souvenirs to memorabilia. She also rents out mountain bikes and hosts an occasional hike.
This year, her childhood friend Beth is returning to help her celebrate her opening celebration of the Spirit Canyon Lodge. Unfortunately, the old crone who owns a spa and another lodge isn’t happy to see any competition and generally makes that publicly clear. It’s Beth who will eventually be numero uno suspect when she is found murdered in the morning.
I really enjoyed the atmospheric aura the author sets up for the area—so much history—so much beauty—small town, limited year-round residents. You can smell the pine, see the beauty and OMG, I WANT that deck! I could so appreciate that warming retreat, mountain air, and TDC (that darned cat), the Maine Coon. (You gotta get him neutered, Zo!)
Knowing her old friend could NOT have killed the old viper, she enlists some help from a local studly forest ranger who feels the same way. Zo is a very subtle investigator, however, and in the meantime, she describes her little(?) gift shop and her adjacent residence to a tee. (If it weren’t for those deadly winters—yes—even worse than where I live, I’d be moving.) And, the ideas she has for decorating, promoting her shop—amazing. If she weren’t relying on tourist money three months out of the year to sustain her the other nine, she’d be rich. Sweet, unique ideas.
I enjoyed the characters, Zo has the beginning of being a well developed personality, the support characters will need to be filled in. It was well-plotted and paced. The romance angle is introduced and usually I’d balk but I liked this guy, so let’s see where that one goes. Zo has a Kawi (Kawasaki motorcycle—that has to be good—love riding), and a helmet, but I’d love to know more about her riding (not driving). “…the motorcycle ride made her long for a road trip.” (Yes, they do that.)
AND, lastly, I loved the way Ms. Angela slips in bits of information unique to the state (besides the monument) like Black Hills Gold (totally unique and gorgeous) and that the “most complete T-rex ever found” was discovered on a ranch within the state and later named Sue.
I received this fun and distinctive book as part of the book tour. It’s a great start for a new series and I’m looking forward to seeing where the author will take us next.
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Mary Angela is the author of the Professor Prather and Happy Camper cozy mystery series. 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.
Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and please visit the other stops listed below!
November 24 – I’m All About Books – SPOTLIGHT
November 24 – I Read What You Write – GUEST POST
November 25 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
November 25 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
November 26 – U.S. Thanksgiving
November 27 – Cozy Up With Kathy – REVIEW
November 27 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT
November 28 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT
November 28 – Author Elena Taylor’s Blog – SPOTLIGHT
November 29 – Maureen’s Musings – SPOTLIGHT
November 29 – FUONLYKNEW – SPOTLIGHT
November 30 – Diane Reviews Books – REVIEW
November 30 – Moonlight Rendezvous – REVIEW
December 1 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
December 1 – Reading, Writing & Stitch-Metic – SPOTLIGHT
December 2 – Cassidy’s Bookshelves – SPOTLIGHT
December 2 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
December 3 – Reading Is My SuperPower – REVIEW
December 3 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
December 4 – The Editing Pen – REVIEW
December 4 – Hearts & Scribbles – SPOTLIGHT
December 5 – Brooke Blogs – REVIEW
December 5 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
December 6 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW
December 7 – This Is My Truth Now – CHARACTER GUEST POST
Thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this cozy mystery!
©2020 V Williams