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jenn

Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

A Muddied Murder (Greenhouse Mystery, #1)

A Muddied Murder - Wendy Tyson

I've felt lately like I've burned out on cozy mysteries, but I think what I'm fed up with is the 'niche' trend that has swallowed up the sub-genre: single, heartbroken woman, builds a business around a craft, or cooking, baking, dog walking, scrapbooking. Then the author tries to create mystery after mystery tangentially tied to that niche.  How many dead bodies can you reasonably connect to scrapbooking?!

 

The other trend wearing on my loyalty is the need to turn all cozies puritanical.  Authors would like to make their readers believe that nobody ever swears or shares more than a chaste kiss.  Codswallop.  Cozies shouldn't be dark or violent but come on, a swear word, a bit of sexual tension?  No wonder there are so many dead bodies: nobody gets laid and they can't even swear about it.

 

But Henery Press has been my saving grace.  They've been putting out cozy mysteries that remind me why I like cozies.  Yes, they still use single-women, and sometimes their worlds are specialised, but mostly they publish very well-written, edited, cozy mysteries with a realistic bite of romance and never are the protagonists reduced to gosh or fudge.

 

A Muddied Murder is a good example.  A smart, strong female lead comes home to turn the family farm into a profitable business.  Not because she's running away from anything, or because she needs a 'fresh start' - because she wants to.  She's open to romance and there are a lot of good looking men around her but there's no love triangle.  

 

Most of all, the mystery was almost perfect.  It started off rocky: she and her grandmother should have been perfect suspects, but after a secret conversation between the sheriff and grandma, they're both instantly off the hook and it's never explained why.  We know they didn't do it, but how doest the Sheriff?  Past that though, the mystery gets interesting and the facts build to reveal a very cool plot that has nothing to do with organic farming.

 

So while this started slow and rocky (I didn't like grandma at the start either), it picked up pace and by the end I was ready to read the second book.

 

(I'm going to use this book for my "First book of a new series" square in Summer Book Bingo.)