Thursday, February 25, 2016

Shards of Murder (A Webb's Glass Shop Mystery)

Author:  Cheryl Hollon
Genre:  Mystery

Paperback; Ebook
ISBN #:  9781617737626
Kensington Publishing
304 Pages
$7.99; $5.99 Amazon
February 23, 2016
Five Stars

As the new proprietor of Webb's Glass Shop, Savannah has been appointed to fill her late father's shoes as a judge for the Spinnaker Arts Festival, held in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida.  With her innovative glass works, the clear winner is Megan Loyola, a student of Savannah's former mentor.

But when Megan doesn't show up to accept her $25,000 award, rumors start flying.  And when Savannah discovers the dead woman's body on festival grounds, the police immediately suspect her of murder.  To keep from appearing before a judge herself, Savannah sorts through the broken pieces of glass scattered around the victim for clues as to who took this killer competition too far...

********

Savannah Webb lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, and is the owner of Webb's Glass Shop, having inherited it after her father's recent murder.  She has been asked to take her father's place as a glass judge for the Spinnaker Arts Festival.  Happily for Savannah, her former instructor, Keith Irving is also in town to support one of his proteges in the competition, Megan Loyola.  When Savannah sees Megan's work, she has to agree that she is the hands down winner for Best in Show.

But when it comes time to distribute the awards, Megan is nowhere to be found.  The next day, while running with her dog Rooney near Tampa Bay, she sees Megan's body floating in the surf.  When she is told by her friend Detective Parker that she is high on the suspect list - having been seen with the victim right before she died, Megan had her business card on her person, and finding the body - well, it all seems to be circumstantial evidence, but evidence nonetheless.  So what can Savannah do but try and find the murder herself?  She gathers together her "posse," Amanda Blake and Jacob Underwood, who work for her, and Edward Morris, the pub owner from next door, and together they devise a plan to try and find the truth.

They make a list of possible suspects and then agree to try and find information regarding their whereabouts during the time Megan was killed.  But this is easier said than done when one of their potential suspects doesn't want to speak with them and another has seemingly disappeared.  What makes her even more determined to find the murderer is the fact that Savannah herself seems to be in the killer's crosshairs...

I enjoyed the book and thought it was well written with the author well able to give us characters who are both unique and likable.  There are no real villains in the fact that there isn't a character who is just a hateful person (I really get tired of reading about the one person in town that the protagonist hates and appears in every single book).  But although, of course, there are 'villains' as it were, none of them seem to be of the evil type - which makes it harder to pick out the person who actually was the killer, and this is as it should be.

We also have the burgeoning (slowly) relationship between Savannah and Edward; and in this book he shows a bit of jealousy, while you get the idea that Amanda may be on the verge of having an admirer herself in the guise of one of Savannah's students (or not, although it seemed so to me).  There is also a nice subplot involving Rooney, Savannah's dog and Suzy, Jacob's helper dog, which should please dog lovers as well.

Ms. Hollon manages to write characters that have depth, not just the protagonist, but everyone who plays a major part in the story.  They are all part of an ensemble, with their friendship toward each other clearly playing out.  This is the second book in Webb's Glass Shop Mysteries, the first being Pane and Suffering, which explains more on how Savannah came to leave Seattle and arrive back in St. Petersburg.  I think you will find it as delightful as this story.  Highly recommended.



More on Cheryl Hollon's books:  http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/h/cheryl-hollon/

http://joannesbooks.blogspot.com/2015/09/pane-and-suffering-webbs-glass-shop.html                                                                       

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