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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.

Drizzled with Death (Sugar Grove Mystery #1)

Drizzled with Death - Jessie Crockett

Someone in one of my groups who could almost be considered my cozy book twin was disappointed with this read, so I had low expectations for liking it myself.  Perhaps that's why I found myself pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did.  


Dani is the youngest of three in what seems to be a close-knit family in New Hampshire.  She is spearheading the transition from syrup making as a family hobby to a thriving business.  From what I can tell, the entire family still lives at home: Grandparents, mother (father passed away), sister, brother and herself.  Her sister is married with two kids.  I'm tipping it's a pretty damn big house.  Dani is very small in stature - under 5 foot - and is very petite.  This added to being the youngest results in her family not taking her seriously and treating her somewhat like a child.


While I like Dani, she does act somewhat like a child.  Not enough to completely turn me off, but enough so I noticed.  She has gumption, but she lacks self-confidence and she defines herself too much by her family's views and not enough by her own.  Her sister is a flat out bitch. No, wait, she's a flat out bitch stuck in a previous century.  She comes right out and tells Dani that she is a failure at 29 because she's not married with kids yet. If the author wanted us to like her at all, she failed and failed big.  


The highlight of the book is a sub-story that, near as I can tell, serves no purpose to the plotting or the story beyond being an excuse to introduce the possible future love interest. It seems a truck full of exotic animals escaped into Sugar Grove.  The Fish and Game officer is in town for the duration, rounding up all manner of odd animals, some of which make rather spectacular entrances around town.  The scenes are amusing without being slapstick and they added a lightness to the story.


The murder plot was a typical set-up:  hated townsperson falls victim of poisoning and Dani's family's syrup is blamed.  Dani must find out who added the poison before her fledgling business tanks.  While the setup is typical, the rest of the plot isn't.  There are quite a few suspects and in the end the murderer wasn't anyone on my radar.  The denouement was also well done - not the typical TSTL moment where the heroine confronts the killer and puts herself in mortal danger.  There's a bit of TSTL, but it's not typical!  I liked it myself.


All in all Drizzled with Death isn't a book I'm going to rave about or gush over.  It was a good start and I wouldn't steer anyone clear of it.  I'll look for the second book because I enjoyed the first book enough to be interested in what happens next.