Monday, June 2, 2014

The Murder Pit: A Moose River Mystery #1

Author:  Jeff Shelby
Genre: Mystery

Five Stars

Daisy Savage finally has everything she wants.  A new husband.  A bunch of kids.  A charming old house. 

When a frozen pipe in the basement of her century-old home leads her and her husband downstairs into a newly discovered crawl space, they find a coal chute they didn't know they had. And a corpse inside of it.

Things become complicated when Daisy realizes she knew the victim. And things get even worse when it becomes increasingly clear that the body was placed there to make Daisy look like the killer.

Against her husband's advice and her own common sense, Daisy makes it her mission to prove to the denizens of Moose River that she is innocent.  But doing so may be more dangerous than she planned.


Daisy Savage and her husband Tom have just purchased a 150-year-old house in Moose River, Minnesota.  It's winter, and the kitchen pipe has frozen, so they attempt to thaw it with a hair dryer.  Since Tom is too large to fit into the crawlspace in their basement where the pipe is, Daisy does so.  But she also sees something both they and the home inspector missed: another door leading to?...when Daisy pries open the door she sees a pair of shoes...with feet in them.  Hightailing it out of there, they call the police and find a dead body.

Not any dead body, but someone Daisy knows, and dated once before she started seeing Tom, her high school sweetheart.  So, since there is a connection there, albeit a tenuous one, not only do the police suspect her of the murder, but obviously everyone else in town, who proceed to distance themselves from her.

She tries not to let it bother her, but when that "distancing" begins to include her four children, then Daisy knows she has to do something to clear her name, even when Tom tells her to let the police handle it (and really, do they ever listen?).

The kids are home-schooled, save Emily, who is now a teenager and has decided to go to high school.  They take 4-H classes, and Daisy even teaches one, or did, until the murder and the other mothers won't let their kids sign up for her class.  Which sets Daisy off even more on determining to find the killer, because it's one thing to blacklist her, but another entirely when it affects her kids.

I loved this book.  It was well-written, had a tight murder plot and great character development.  I liked it so well I read it in one night (right up until the wee hours of the morning).  You get drawn into Daisy and her blended family (her three kids, his one) as if you were right there with them.  And he writes about Minnesota winters exactly as they are (I know this because I grew up in Minneapolis).  Mr. Shelby does well with this novel and I fully intend to read the next in the series.  Highly recommended.

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A Souffle of Suspicion (A French Bistro Mystery #2)

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