ISBN #: 9781601834164
June 23, 2015
Jill Gardner, the owner of Coffee, Books and More has been suckered into playing a twenties flapper in murder/dinner theater. Though it is for charity...
Of course everyone is expecting a "dead" body at the dress rehearsal...but this one isn't acting! It turns out the main suspect is the late actor's conniving girlfriend Sherry...who also happens to be the ex-wife of Jill's main squeeze. Sherry is definitely a master manipulator...but is she a killer? Jill may discover the truth only when the curtain comes up on the final act...and by then, it may be far too late.
Jill Gardner, owner of Coffee, Books and More, and business community liaison to the city council, isn't happy about her boyfriend Greg's ex-wife Sherry moving to South Cove and opening a store, Vintage Duds. She's less than happy that Sherry insists on hosting the next meeting at her shop; irritated that Sherry has a much larger turnout of business owners than Jill herself ever has; and downright confused why Greg King, sheriff of South Cove, would be attending the meeting at all, a meeting that didn't end well.
Since then, Jill has been recruited, along with a reluctant Greg, to participate in a murder mystery at the winery for charity. When the curtain opens, there is a dead body on the stage - that of local banker Kent Paine, who also happens to be Greg's ex-wife Sherry's new boyfriend. Since Sherry was apparently the last person to see Kent, she is the obvious main suspect in his death.
Jill is later surprised when Sherry's best friend Pat appears on her doorstep and asks her to prove Sherry innocent. In return, Pat tells Jill that she will get Sherry to back off and leave Greg alone. Jill insists that she has nothing to do with the investigation, but Pat tells her she knows Greg will listen to her, and Jill, who has a curious nature at heart, while noncommittal to Pat, knows deep down she is going to try and find the killer on her own.
And here we have the start of another one of Ms. Cahoon's wonderful tales. This latest installment in the Tourist Trap mysteries does not let us down. We dislike Sherry as much as Jill (and isn't that what books are supposed to do? Involve us in the characters?) and would probably enjoy watching her trip on her "hooker heels" and breaking a leg - but no such thing comes to pass. Instead, we are treated to another installment of Jill doing her best to stay out of Sherry's line of sight, pass along clues to Greg as she finds them, and convince him that she's not trying to solve the murder on her own.
Along the way, Jill is doing her best to try and keep her aunt out of jail; deal with Josh Thomas, antique store owner/thorn in her side who thinks there's too much litter and has been going around photographing it; marvel at the hypnotic power her part-time barista/police officer Toby has with women; and wonder if Esmeralda, her neighbor and police dispatcher, is truly able to tell fortunes or just very, very good at reading people.
It is a delightful journey for readers, lovers of cozy mysteries, who can really settle down with a nice cup of coffee (or tea) and dive right in. Do so - you won't be disappointed. Highly recommended and I look forward to the next in the series.