From peacekeeper to beekeeper…
After an injury forced her to leave the police department, Abigail Mackenzie started a second career as a farmer. Raising chickens, harvesting honey from her bee colony, and growing heirloom vegetables on her farmette in the beautiful Bay Area town of Las Flores, Abby has embraced all the benefits of a peaceful life.
But when she attempts to deliver her trademark honey to local pastry chef Jean-Louis Bonheur and finds him dead in his shop, her old investigative instincts kick in. After the coroner rules the death a suicide, the chef’s handsome French-Canadian brother insists on hiring Abby to find out who really killed Jean-Louis.
With the patience of a farmer and the industriousness of a bee, Abby sorts through a swarm of suspects, including the chef’s landlord, his protégé, an eccentric homeless woman, loan sharks, and a brawny biker.
But as she closes in on the truth, she’ll need more than her beekeeper suit to protect her from a killer’s sting…
Includes farming tips and delicious recipes!
Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published September 29th 2015 by Kensington
Three and a half stars: A realistic cozy, with a cute farm and a former cop as the heroine.
Abby is hurriedly trying to get the last of her lavender planted before she has to go into town and deliver honey. She knows that Chef Jean-Louis doesn't like it when she is tardy. Just then, When Abby arrives at the pastry shop, something isn't right. The cakes are burning in the oven, and the Chef is nowhere to be found. Abby finds him lying dead on the pantry floor, apparently strangled. The coroner rules the death as a suicide, but Abby isn't completely convinced, nor is the chef's brother, Philippe. Philippe hires Abby to find the truth, and as a former cop, Abby knows a thing or two about solving crime. Did the Chef kill himself or was he murdered?
What I Liked:
- A Beeline to Murder is a cozy that actually comes across as realistic. I appreciated that the heroine is a retired cop, so she is someone who knows a thing or two about solving a murder. It was nice to read a cozy mystery with a heroine who was competent and realistic, not one who runs some type of bake shop and is forced to help solve the crime because of incompetent law enforcement. Abby is indeed capable of tracking down the murderer, and she works closely with her friend, Kat, who is still on the force.
- This mystery incorporates a cozy farm setting. Abby retired after an injury. Now days, she is running a small farm, where she keeps bees and collects honey. I enjoyed the country setting, and I liked all the interesting tidbits that were included regarding farming.
- Many cozy mysteries tend to have recipes or how to information at the end, but this book does something a bit different. Instead of including everything at the end, the author incorporates recipes and how to articles before each new chapter. There are recipes, information on bee keeping, how to dry mint, how to make lavender essence and so on. I thought it was fun to have these included throughout the book. One other touch that I liked was that before each chapter, there was a small quote from the Henny Penny Farmette Almanac.
- The overall murder mystery was well done. First, I liked that the murder victim wasn't some cartoonish villain who behaves badly and has a negative reputation amongst the town. Instead, the chef is well liked by most people. At first, it seems that he might have committed suicide, but the more Abby digs, she learns that all isn't as it seems. There are several suspects and motives, and I was guessing until the end. This is a well thought out, realistic cozy.
- One other thing that I appreciated was that the local law enforcement wasn't bumbling and incompetent. Abby is a former cop, and she works closely with the police to find the truth. This added a layer of realism to the story.
- The book draws to a satisfactory close. No loose ends as far as the mystery is concerned. There are of course, story lines to follow up on in the next book. Rest assured, there isn't a cliffhanger.
And The Not So Much:
- I was bothered that I never learned exactly what happened to Abby. She suffered some type of injury to her hand that forced her to retire. I wanted the backstory of her injury, retirement and how she came to own the farm.
- There is a bit of romance, but it didn't really work for me. There is an attraction and some sparks, but it doesn't really go anywhere. It has potential, but right now, I am ambivalent as far as the romance goes. It can stay or go. There was also a hint that a love triangle might occur, I am hoping not.
- I was wanting to know a bit more about a certain character's relationship with his wife. Why did her marry her? Did she know about his secret life all along? I thought this part of the story needed more detail.
Beeline To Murder is a cozy mystery that is on the realistic side. The main character is a retired cop, so she is capable of solving crimes. I liked that she worked with the police, it gave it a more realistic feel. I also enjoyed the farm setting and all the fun tidbits and recipes that were included. This is a cozy for people who like their cozies to have a sense of realism. If you are wanting a good mystery pick this one up.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.