“Don’t bring problems, bring solutions.”
1 DOWN: A PERSON OF INTEREST
Quinn Carr has been quietly creating crosswords for the Chestnut Station Chronicle in her small Colorado town since she was in high school, but she has yet to solve the puzzle of how to make a living from her passion. So she lives with her parents and works at the local diner, catering to regulars like The Retireds, a charming if cantankerous crew of elderly men. The most recent member to join the group is a recently retired tailor, the unfortunately named Hugh Pugh.
4-LETTER WORD FOR “IMPALE”
But Hugh’s misfortune dramatically increases when he’s arrested for stabbing his husband with a pair of fabric shears. With a cryptic crossword clue left at the crime scene, Quinn seems tailor-made for solving this murder. The local police may be determined to pin the crime on the kindly tailor, but Quinn will use her penchant for puzzles and what her therapist calls her “obsessive coping mechanism” to get the clues to line up and catch the real culprit—before the killer boxes her in. . . .
An OCD breakdown is responsible for Quinn Carr returning to her parents home in rural Colorado, where she has established herself as a waitress at the local diner owned by Jake. There she caters to an eclectic group of patrons, one of whom is “The Retireds.”
“How many vegans does it take to eat a piece of bacon?” Without waiting for an answer, he said, “Just one, if nobody’s looking.”
Her position there gives her ample opportunity to exercise her OCD proclivities, arranging condiments, cleaning, and straightening objects. Her form of OCD is serious, an anxiety disorder, and she is seeing a therapist to help her tame the OCD monster.
Quinn is also a professional, albeit closet, cruciverbalist—creating puzzles for the local Chestnut Station Chronicle–something she prefers kept quiet. She has used this skill in the past to send subliminal messages to the local police captain of Chestnut Station when she becomes involved in the murder that has the newest member of the Retireds landed in the slammer.
Following the arrest of Hugh, she has taken on the care of Virginia Wolf, his dog also known as Gin, and her care almost sends her into overload. The police chief, of course, is sure he has his man and, of course, Quinn knows he didn’t do it and takes on the investigation as well as the care of his home.
I started this series with Book 1, unusual for me I know, but was left scratching my head a few times. First, creating a puzzle requires an extremely clever word smith and second, I had no idea how serious OCD could be, often referring to my straightening things as my OCD. Not even close. But I did enjoy this book for the mystery and the characters whether or not I could really connect with Quinn. Also, loved the wit and sense of humor encased in this cozy.
“Don’t meddle in the affairs of dragons for you are crunchy and delicious with ketchup.”
“…people food is for people, not dogs who think they’re people.”
I like the support characters—all are well developed (her mother’s recipes a hoot) including her boyfriend Rico (her police connection), the mystery (cloaked within the mysteries of the OCD), the clues, investigation, and puzzling scenes. Gees! Sounded like a lot of mathematics were involved and, no surprise there, also not one of my strong suits!
In Book 2, Quinn has graduated into a slightly more astute woman sleuth, tending to be more methodical while obsessive. The narrative is a well-plotted and paced mystery. While I found Book 1 a bit disjointed, novel two of the series was smoother and I could get into the puzzling aspect, unique to a cozy mystery, I’m sure. If you didn’t start with Book 1, no prob—Book 2 could be read as a standalone. Don’t read by rote; don’t read while watching TV or knitting; this cozy requires a thinking cap. Come prepared with yours.
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley and these are my unbiased opinions. Pre-order is now available.
Rosepoint Rating: Four point Five Stars
Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Cozy Mystery, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Lyrical Press
- ASIN : B08FXTDJST
Print Length: 205 pages
Publication Date: To be released May 11, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
The Author: Becky Clark is the seventh of eight kids, which explains both her insatiable need for attention and her atrocious table manners. She likes to read funny books so it felt natural to write them too. She surrounds herself with quirky people and pets who end up as characters in her books. Her stout-hearted dog keeps her safe from menacing squirrels, leaves, and deer, but not plastic bags. Those things are terrifying.
Readers say her books are “fast and thoroughly entertaining” with “witty humor and tight writing” and “humor laced with engaging characters” so you should “grab a cocktail and enjoy the ride.” They also say “Warning: You will laugh out loud. I’m not kidding,” and “If you like Janet Evanovich, you will like Becky Clark.”
Becky won the 1st place “Best in Category” Mystery & Mayhem Award from the Chanticleer International Book Awards for Fiction Can Be Murder, book one in the Mystery Writer’s Mystery series.
Visit http://www.BeckyClarkBooks.com for all kinds of fun. While you’re there, be sure to subscribe to her “So Seldom It’s Shameful” newsletter. You’ll hear about new releases, get the chance to win fabulous prizes, find out about book promotions from her and others, read interviews from new-to-you authors, and more. (As you might have gleaned from the title, she won’t inundate your inbox, either.)
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©2021 V Williams