A TOUGH NUT TO KILL by Elizabeth Lee
When I started writing A Tough Nut to Kill I knew my main character was a good person. I knew Lindy studied at Texas A&M to become a botanist so she could help her family, the Blanchards, and the others in the town of Riverville, Texas, where a lot of pecan ranchers lived.
Pecan trees can have real bad years. The trees get diseased or hit by drought. Some families go under, ranches and homes go to the highest bidder. Lots of broken hearts and broken lives. Lindy’s grown up with that fear in her and wants to help change things in Riverville. Now she’s on the verge of developing a drought resistant and disease proof pecan tree that will change things for the better among the ranchers of Riverville.
Until the day she stumbles over her Uncle Amos’s body on the cement floor of her greenhouse and the quiet town of Riverville is turned on its head, secrets coming out, neighbor telling on neighbor and, because Uncle Amos was the black sheep of the family, everybody eventually settling on the killer as one of the Blanchard’s themselves.
Soon Lindy and her meemaw, Miss Amelia, 77, the matriarch of the family, the woman who runs The Nut House in town, a store filled with every imaginable pecan goodie from Miss Amelia’s prize winning pecan pie to her Outhouse Moon Cookies, are after a killer or killers who strike out at anything to protect their secrets.
Granddaughter and grandmother are drawn into worlds they’d never been part of before. Soon Miss Amelia is sedately line dancing with the best of’em at the Barking Coyote Saloon in Riverville; seeking help from two gun toting octogenarian sisters; tracking down a private detective with information in Columbus, Texas; then on to Houston to meet a mysterious woman named Virginia.
The one thing about southern women—young and old—is they always get their man. Even if it’s with a big bat of the eyelashes in a saloon or an insincere “Why, bless yer heart . . .” while setting a trap to catch a ruthless killer.
A Tough Nut to Kill (Nut House Mystery - Book 1) by Elizabeth Lee
Publication Date: 02/04/2014
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Berkley Prime Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, Indiebound
Excerpt from, A Tough Nut to Kill, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.
Lindy Blanchard has devoted five years of her life to saving the pecan trees on her family’s farm—but someone is going to deadly lengths to see that she fails…
Riverville, Texas, is pecan country, and the Blanchard family farm is famous for its acres of tall pecan trees and the delicious pies and cookies sold at the Nut House, the aptly named family store. Miss Amelia, Lindy’s feisty grandmother, makes the best pecan pies for several counties and the farm is attracting visitors from far and wide to sample the wares.
Until the day Lindy walks into the greenhouse to find her uncle Amos murdered and her new stock of trees destroyed, with the best of the bunch stolen. Who is out to ruin the Blanchard family? And who wanted Uncle Amos dead? With the sheriff stumped, it’s up to Lindy and Miss Amelia to save the ranch and tree a killer.
A Tough Nut to Kill is the first book in the comically named, Nut House Mystery series by author Elizabeth Lee. Readers will get more than one chuckle in with this book. Lee shows her talent and humor with every turn of the page. With some interesting characters like Miss Amelia and the Chauncey twins, Lee is sure to readers wanting to come back to Riverville, Texas on a normal basis. A great first book in a new series!
What I liked:
First of all I really like it when an author surprises me and Elizabeth Lee certainly did. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from a book with nut in the title, LOL, but it was a very comical and endearing read. I loved the fact that Lee used a lot of humor and comic relief to lighten the theme of murder in this novel. Most of the laughter comes in the form of the antics of the Chauncey twins. I really enjoyed them and hope that they will be a continual part of this new series.
I also thought the long standing feud between Lindy's family and Uncle Amos was interesting and the fact that Lindy's brother is accused of the murder tied in well. I like it when a mystery has enough plausibility to make it possible in real life and this was one of those that felt realistic. Lee gives Lindy a reason to investigate and the means to accomplish it with her friend on the police force. It didn't feel like Lindy was looking for trouble, only trying to get someone else out of it.
I liked all of the information that Lee adds to the book about Pecans and how they are raised and what it means to the farmers and people around them when they have a bad year. I had no idea it could be that devastating to have a bad crop. I was raised on a working farm but I suppose we had several different crops to count on instead of just one. It was a very entertaining and interesting aspect of the story.
What I didn't like:
There were a few moments in the story where I was very close to figuring it out early on. Sometimes that is a good thing and then the reader can just sit back and enjoy the ride. But I think that most of us want to lead along with bread crumbs until the end.
There were a lot of things I liked about this one. I definitely think there is a lot of potential for a very good series here. Lee's first book does have a few earmarks of a first in a series book, but nothing too far out of the ordinary. Looking forward to seeing where Lee takes us from here.
A Tough Nut to Kill will be available from booksellers on February 4th. Pre-order is available now.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
About the Author:
Elizabeth Lee's A Tough Nut to Kill is the first book in the Nut House Mystery series
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