Title: Murder On Blake Hill (Cozy Mystery)
Author: Janis Lane
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Release Date: September 7, 2016
Detective Kevin Fowler and his reporter fiancée, Beverly Hampton, are called in when the bodies of septuagenarians have been found. Neither was killed in the area where the bodies were discovered. Confounding the issue, is the fact that both victims were known to be in a long feud with each other. This leaves Kevin wondering who would want them both out of the way with little to go on.
As Kevin is working at solving the double homicide, he is also juggling other town matters. The mayor is after him to look into the background of one of the council members who has been stirring the pot up and the number of reports of petty vandalism has taken a sudden upswing. All of this is made more frustrating by the lack of cooperation by the victims’ families. Kevin knows that there is something not quite right, but he’s got to spend some time working it out.
Beverly is working her angle on the story and trying to re-plan their wedding, which was postponed due to a family emergency. This brings her into contact with many of the other folks of the town of Hubbard. We meet Susan, a model, Rita and Buddy, who run the diner and Charlotte, the florist.
The Methodist church has several dinners, presumed as a fundraiser, which gives the town a chance to come together and intermingle and is the setting for several scenes. It is also the locale that gives us insight of the various relationships that are occurring in the small town.
Kevin spends the story answering several questions. Who is responsible for the two dead men? Who is causing the vandalism? Why are the families so reluctant to help? Will he and Beverly actually get married this time?
My Personal Take:
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters were credible. They didn’t have superpowers or extra-sensory talents. They came off as people you very well might know. They all showed strengths and weaknesses and were open to temptations. Each had enough background so they weren’t cardboard, but there might have been more to their backstories that would have been pertinent (disclaimer: I’ve only read book 3 of the series, so these things may have been answered before.) The situations they found themselves may have been a bit extraordinary, but not too far out from the realm of reality that you couldn’t believe it to be possible.
The main issue I had with the characters in the book were the shear number. Granted, they all did play a part in the end, so I can’t complain too much, but I might wonder if there was a way to obtain the same result with a few less people. Again, these are people who have undoubtedly been in the first books of the series, so readers who have read the other books in the series might not be so overwhelmed trying to keep everyone straight.
The point of view changed multiple times throughout the book. Most of the time, this wasn’t a problem. However, looking at the romance through the eyes of the two minor characters took away from the actual mystery. I will admit, I did find it interesting to be in one of the character’s heads as it was a new perspective that I hadn’t run across in a cozy mystery before. That was a bit different, and definitely interesting.
If was to change anything with this book, I might have limited the extra characters that appear. I understand that you have to have witnesses and suspects along with the townspeople, so there will always be extra people hanging around. I definitely would have changed how we see the relationship between two of the minor characters. I think it would have been better to see the blossoming from the viewpoint of Kevin and Beverly instead of going to the minor characters’ points of view.
Once I got all of the players straight, I really enjoyed Murder On Blake Hill. It was well planned and the evidence was presented in a way that the amateur sleuths among us will figure out the solution about the same time our hero does.
There were some minor typos in the Advanced Reader Copy that I had, and I let the author know, so hopefully they will have been corrected by publication.
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