Friday, September 18, 2015

Pane and Suffering (A Webb's Glass Shop Mystery #1)

Author:  Cheryl Hollon
Genre:  Mystery

Paperback; e-book
ISBN #:  978-1617737602
Kensington Publishing
320 Pages
$7.99; $5.84 Kindle
September 29, 2015

Five Stars

To solve her father's murder and save the family-owned glass shop, Savannah Webb must shatter a killer's carefully constructed facade...

After Savannah's father dies unexpectedly of a heart attack, she drops everything to return home to St. Petersburg, Florida, to settle his affairs--including the fate of the beloved, family-owned glass shop.  Savannah intends to hand over ownership to her father's trusted assistant and fellow glass expert, Hugh Trevor, but soon discovers the master craftsman also dead of an apparent heart attack.

As if the coincidence of the two deaths wasn't suspicious enough, Savannah discovers a note her father left for her in his shop, warning her that she is in danger.  With the local police unconvinced, it's up to Savannah to piece together the encoded clues left behind by her father.  And when her father's apprentice is accused of the murders, Savannah is more desperate than ever to crack the case before the killer seizes a window of opportunity to cut her out of the picture...


Savannah Webb returns home to Florida from Seattle when her father dies of a heart attack.  She is planning on staying long enough to oversee the transfer of her family's glass shop to her father's assistant, Hugh Trevor, and then leaving.  But before she can do so, Hugh's body is found in the back of the shop, also apparently dead of a heart attack.  At this point, Savannah is convinced that both her father and Hugh were murdered, and since the police officer she speaks with doesn't believe her, she knows she must try and find the truth for herself.

It seems her father once worked for the government, and when she was growing up, he would leave riddles in code all around St. Petersburg for her to figure out.  So when she finds a piece of paper with a code on it, and it directs her to a park, she encounters another.

Soon she has enlisted the aid of the owner of the pub next door, Edward, a British transplant, to help her find the truth.  Then Jacob Underwood, her father's young apprentice who has Asperger's Syndrome and uses a service dog, is accused of the crime and she knows she must find the answer before he spends even one night in jail.

Let me first tell you that I figured out the killer within the first few chapters.  But, since I pretty much am able to do that on a regular basis, I will also tell you that I didn't allow it to hinder my enjoyment of this book.  For enjoyable it was.

Savannah is a breath of fresh air.  And we find out early on that she has a great fear of heights (which we know will be tested later in the book, as the fears always are); she's intelligent, strong, isn't afraid to ask for help, not a pushover and stands her ground.  I love that.  I hate women who are wishy-washy and afraid to make decisions.

The plot is different and interesting in the fact that there are codes to be broken in order to find the truth, and Savannah, sometimes with the help of Jacob, is able to do just that.  She puts the pieces together nicely while managing to keep herself relatively safe in the process.  Even when she finds out something disturbing about Edward, she's smart enough to listen to explanation and figure things out for herself, not run away feeling betrayed; another trait of maturity.

When we find out the reasons why her father and Hugh were killed, it all seems such a waste, but is believable enough that someone who has convoluted ideas could do this.  Ms. Hollon brings to us a protagonist that is clever and straightforward, someone whom I would like to spend time with, and hope to do so by further books in the series.  Highly recommended.


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