I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.
This is a very well written book with an excellent story and plot. It misses that last half star because I just didn't connect well with the main character. Her two friends, yes. Her hinted-at future love interest - not even a little bit. So I was left feeling that while I really enjoyed the story, I didn't empathise with the main character or her future life in Autumn Vale at all.
The setting was really well done - Autumn Vale is full of quirky, eccentric folks and I found that the setting was written with realism - this isn't the idyllic quaint town that hums along; this is a quaint little town that is dying, with more storefronts closed up than open. There's a lot potential here for future development in subsequent books.
The central murder plot was very well crafted; this is a meaty story and not one I think you're likely to breeze through. Ms. Hamilton writes another series and in comparison, there is a much more mature quality to the plotting and writing in this first-in-a-new-series. The action moved along, there was well crafted dialogue, and not a lot of filler in the form of internal dialogue - there was a bit of 'let's sum up the suspects' but it was minimal and didn't really take me out of the flow of the story.
A convoluted plot with suspects known and unknown. Well done to the end.
I'll definitely pick up the next book - there's a bit of a cliff hanger in the form of a puzzle yet to be solved; that could prove to be fun. I'll hope that in the next book I'll find more to connect with regarding the main character, Merry.