A Solid Peach Mystery
Bruce Von Stiers
Once upon a time, about the only mysteries I would read were hard boiled, busted knuckles kind of books. But somewhere down the line, I discovered that cozy mysteries were entertaining reading as well. So much so, that I am now constantly looking for cozy mystery series to delve into.
One such cozy mystery series is the Georgia Peach Mystery series. The series is written by Susan Furlong, who also writes another cozy mystery series and has taken over as writer on a third series.
The first book in the Georgia Peach Mystery series is Peaches And Scream. It introduces Nola Mae Harper and the town of Cays Mill, Georgia to the cozy mystery world.
Nola Mae Harper has spent last fifteen years or so at locations around the world, working on various humanitarian projects. But her tenure as a globetrotter was ending as she was now going to be having a desk job. But before reporting for desk duty, Nola heads to her hometown of Cays Mill, Georgia and her family's peach farm. Her parents were celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary with a huge party. And then the parents were going on a cruise. They had asked Nola to keep an eye on things at the farm while they were away.
At the conclusion of the party, Nola finds a dead body in the peach orchard. The dead person was Ben Wakefield, the owner of a local lumber business. It appeared that he had been strangled. The bad thing is that Nola's brother in-law, Hollis, was seen having a heated argument with Wakefield earlier in the evening.
Many characters and scenarios in cozy mysteries are often comical, sometimes even slapstick. But sometimes they are far more serious than their peers in other books. The latter can be found in the characters and scenarios in Peaches And Scream. Nola is not some klutzy damsel in distress, but a strong woman who gets somewhat overwhelmed by circumstance. As the book progresses, the situations are not slapstick, but a bit more dramatic, but without the harshness of a hard-boiled mystery.
Nola must find out who the killer is, even if it turns out to be her brother in-law. The sheriff is no help. It seems that the she has it in for Ida, the wife of Hollis and who is also Nola's older sister. The sheriff would like nothing more than to have Hollis be the killer and stick it to Ida. Nola's brother Ray hires a private investigator to look into things. It is someone from both his and Nola's past.
While all of this is going on, Nola finds out that the farm isn't in very good shape and will take an influx of money to bring things back to what they were.
The more things progress, the more Hollis looks guilty. But Nola soon finds no shortage of other suspects. Those suspects include a floosy, a seemingly harmless neighbor, a tree-hugging activist and the soon to be ex-wife of the murder victim.
The author lets the reader know that Nola has a dark secret. Somehow, that secret is what drove Nola away from Cays Mill all those years ago. Hints as to what that secret is are dropped throughout the book.
As I mentioned earlier, even though this is a cozy mystery, it is a bit more dramatic. I was kind of expecting a comical vein for the book. But what I found was a solid mystery, with strong characters and plot devices that will keep you guessing as to the true identity of the killer.
Peaches And Scream can be found at Barnes and Noble, amazon.com and other traditional and digital book retailers.
To learn more about Susan Furlong and the Georgia Peach Mystery series, visit http://www.susanfurlong.com/ You might also want to check out Susan's Facebook author page at https://www.facebook.com/SusanFurlongAuthor/
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© 2016 Bruce E Von Stiers