Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Guidebook to Murder

Author:  Lynn Cahoon
Genre:  Mystery

Five Stars
 
 
In the gentle coastal town of South Cove, California, all Jill Gardner wants is to keep her store--Coffee, Books, and More--open and running. So why is she caught up in the business of murder?
 
When Jill's elderly friend, Miss Emily, calls in a fit of pique, she already knows the city council is trying to force Emily to sell her dilapidated old house. But Emily's gumption goes for naught when she dies unexpectedly and leaves the house to Jill--along with all of her problems. . .and her enemies. Convinced her friend was murdered, Jill is finding the list of suspects longer than the list of repairs needed on the house. But Jill is determined to uncover the culprit--especially if it gets her closer to South Cove's finest, Detective Greg King. Problem is, the killer knows she's on the case--and is determined to close the book on Jill permanently...

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Jill Gardner owns a small bookstore/coffeeshop in South Cove, California.  She moved there after a divorce and made fast friends with Miss Emily, an elderly woman who took an instant liking to her.  When Emily dies suddenly, Jill has suspicions that she was murdered, since Emily never seemed sick at all.  After Emily leaves everything - house, belongings, money, etc., to Jill, and people start coming out of the woodwork wanting the house, she's more than convinced of that.
 
While the local police detective, Greg King, warns her to leave the investigation to him, Jill knows she should, but still thinks that she would be disloyal to Emily if she didn't try and find out who killed her.  And when 'accidents' and vandalism start following her around, she knows she's closer to the killer than she ought to be.  It doesn't help any that she is highly attracted to the good-looking detective, and he appears to be attracted to her also, but keeps her at arms' length (sort of) while he considers it his personal mission to protect her from danger.  The interaction between these two is believable and delightful.
 
I absolutely loved this book.  It kept the mystery right up until the end, which was great.  There are plenty of twists and turns, suspects, and red herrings.  The plot is interesting without getting bogged down in too many extraneous details, and as Jill went through her emotions, I could amost feel them myself.  I really enjoy being pulled into the story, not just reading the book and going through the motions.  I have always felt that a book should draw you in, not keep you to the sidelines as a mere observer, and this book definitely fills that area.  This is the author's first title in this series, and I look forward to reading the next.  Highly recommended.
 
 


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