Publication Date: January 3, 2012
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: Paperback, 286pp
(Received for an honest review from Berkley Prime Crime)
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound
Hannah Reed (Deb Baker) on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, twitter
Books in the series: Buzz Off (2010), Mind Your Own Beeswax (2011), Plan Bee (2012)
CoverArt: Click on the picture to see a larger, clearer image of the covers in this series.
Excerpt from Plan Bee (Amazon Look Inside Feature)
The townspeople of Moraine, Wisconsin, should be feeling festive during Harmony Festival. But when everything starts going wrong, beekeeper Story Fischer realizes that keeping honeybees is easy compared to keeping the peace...
Moraine's annual Harmony Festival is anything but harmonious for Story Fischer. She's lost the Honey Queen crown to the town's biggest shoplifter; her domineering mother wants Story's beehive banned from the festival, and a visiting twelve-year-old genius is wreaking havoc with his explosive experiments.
Then Story stumbles upon a dead body in the cemetery, only to have it disappear - and then reappear in a most inconvenient place. When her mother begins dating the prime suspect, and the young scientist goes missing, Story is determined to get to the bottom of things. It's up to her to make a beeline for the truth before everything in Moraine blows sky-high.
Plan Bee is the third book in the Queen Bee mystery series by Hannah Reed. This cozy mystery series is full of interesting facts about Wisconsin and the art of beekeeping. Reed takes readers back to Moraine, a small town with some very zany inhabitants. Reed's sense of humor comes across loud and clear and readers will find themselves alternating between laughing out loud and biting their nails, as local bee keeper, Story Fischer once again finds herself in the middle of a murder.
This is just a great feel good kind of mystery. The atmosphere is cozy and jovial for the most part, even when murder is afoot. The characters are full of energy and a vivaciousness that Reed is able to convey to the reader through humor and imagery. One of the first rules of a good cozy is finding a place or an occupation, maybe even a hobby for the main protagonist that is interesting and different. I'd have to say bee-keeping is right up there with the most unique of professions I've seen in a cozy yet. It gives this series a real "down on the farm" kind of feel. I liked that a lot.
The characters are just plain wacky in some respects, which makes the series and this book in particular a little over-the-top. Reed walks a fine line with this bunch and I think readers will like them a lot. First of all I have to say that names and places don't usually stick out to me in books. If it's a person or a couple that I like, I remember them of course, but I don't usually mention them in my reviews, however "Story" is the perfect name for a great character. Reed's main character for this series is a very in-your-face kind of person, which tends to be a good thing if you happen to be an amateur sleuth. I liked her matter of fact way of speaking and her nosiness was quite funny. I also enjoyed how the author showed everyone feelings about Story, who liked and who didn't and why, that was fun reading.
The mystery aspect of the book was interesting and easy to follow. Story finds a body in the local cemetery one night while she's out walking her dog. But when the police arrive the body has hightailed it off somewhere and Story is left looking a little foolish, when it re-appears it gives stuffing the chimney a whole new meaning. I thought Reed carried off the mystery well, by providing some interesting motives and suspects. I figured it out before the end, and I was really excited that I was right. I love trying to beat the author to the punch. Sometimes I can, sometimes I can't, but this was truly a fun journey. The humor in this book and series, really carries it.
I recommend this one cozy readers who like a little something sweet with their murders. The whole bee-keeping aspect of the story was extremely fun to read about and the interactions between story and the townspeople were priceless. Her mom, is quite the cranky lady and every town has to have one, the quirky, nerdy kid who nearly blows the town square sky high. This was a great addition to an already great series!
Plan Bee is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.
I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!
Hannah Reed lives on a high ridge in southern Wisconsin in a community much like the one she writes about. She is busy writing the next book in the Queen Bee Mysteries.
The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Plan Bee by Hannah Reed.
~ You must be a GFC follower or E-mail subscriber to participate.
~ US addresses only (publisher request).
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST February 3rd.
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