Publication Date: March 6, 2012
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: Paperback, 272pp
(Received for an honest review from Obsidian Mystery)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
Denise Swanson on the WEB: website, blog, facebook
Devereaux Sinclair was never happier than the day she quit her city job and brought the old-fashioned five-and-dime in her small Missouri hometown. But her happiness is short-lived when murder turns her charming store into a little shop of horrors...
After Joelle Ayers, the fiancee of Dev's ex-boyfriend, is found handcuffed to a hotel bed, murdered with a champagne bottle and a stiletto-heeled shoe, a revenge-crazed cop is determined to put Dev behind bars. That cuffs and the champagne were part of a gift basket Dev put together for the victim, and they have her fingerprints all over them.
Desperate to clear her good name, Dev enlists her two longtime pals, Poppy and Boone, to help investigate. Luckily, the sexy new guy in town, Jake Del Vecchio, also feels compelled to assist, and it doesn't hurt that he's a deputy U.S. marshal. But Dev had better fight her attraction to Jake and focus on discovering the killer - or this brand-new business owner may find herself trading her nostalgic five-and-dime store for a modern-day prison cell.
Scrumble River fans will love Denise Swanson's latest series. Little Shop of Homicide is the first book in the Devereaux's Dime Store Mystery series and Swanson uses her trademark wit and humor to give readers a great small town experience. A lot of cozy mystery readers will remember the five and dime from their childhood while reading this one. Penny bubble gum and nickel cokes were all the rage. Clues abound in this murder mystery and so does the romantic tension. Mystery and romance enthusiasts alike will find something to get excited about in Little Shop of Homicide.
Denise Swanson's Scrumble River series is one of my favorites. I loved the humor that Swanson interjects into her books and Little Shop of Homicide is written in that same jaunty, quirky style. I always like it when an author understands the need for humor in a book that has a serious subject and how much more serious can you get, than murder. Swanson's book doesn't come across as over the top or insensitive. It just gives a little comic relief where it's needed.
The small town setting that Swanson has chosen for her latest series is perfect. My own childhood memories include visits to the local dime story, sitting at the stool and having a coke in a real glass or an ice cream cone. The one I went to was also one of local drug stores and you could sit and enjoy the soda fountain while you waited on your prescriptions. This book really reminded me of those days and I'm sure that it will make other readers nostalgic as well. It gave the book an authentic feel that will resonate with people.
One of the things that I particularly liked about this series was the romance between the heroine and the US Marshal. Dev is a great chraracter to start with. She's strong and intelligent and very loyal. She returns to her hometown to take care of her grandmother, that says a lot. Jake is sort of the hot neighbor next door. The fact that he can help her with her case is a good reason for them to get to know each other, but when they do the sparks fly. Most usually you don't get too much sexual tension in a cozy mystery but Swanson uses it effectively here and will probably draw in some romance readers as well. I liked that, but as you all know, I'm a romance fan as well as a mystery lover.
The plot was interesting and I could see part of it playing out in a regular small town setting. I'm not too sure about death by champange and stilletto's but the fact that it was an ex-boyfriends fiancee, and the local police didn't like her and all that.... soooo possible. I liked the fact that Swanson didn't pitch the reader a bunch of suspects and motives right off the bat, the reader had to be patient, which made the book more enjoyable. It was a quick read, but most cozies are, a little guilty pleasure that you can read in one sitting or over a long weekend. It's the first in a new series, but better time to jump in and enjoy!
Little Shop Homicide is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Denise Swanson has worked as a school psychologist for 17 years. This is her second novel featuring Skye Denison and Scumble River. Her first book, Murder of a Small-Town Honey, debuted to advance praise from the Charlotte Austin Review, Meritorious Mysteries, and BookBrowser. She is currently working on the next Scumble River mystery, Murder of a Sleeping Beauty. Denise lives in Illinois with her husband, Dave, and their cool black cat, Boomerang.
The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Little Shop of Homicide by Denise Swanson.
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