Friday, December 22, 2017

Deja Moo (A Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum Mystery #3)

Author:  Kirsten Weiss
Genre:  Mystery

Trade Paperback; Digital Book
ISBN #:  9780738750361
Midnight Ink Publishing
360 Pages
$15.99; $10.99 Amazon
March 8, 2018


Maddie Kosloski is no fan of San Benedetto's Christmas Cow, a thirty-foot straw bovine that graces the town square every December.  For one thing, the cow displaces her paranormal museum as the number one tourist attraction.  Plus, every year, despite around-the-clock surveillance, the cow goes up in flames.

But this year, there's more than just a fire blazing in Maddie's wine-country hometown.  One of the Christmas Cow guards has been found with an arrow in his chest, and Maddie's new haunted cowbell exhibit is fueling a panic.  Are the spirits in her museum getting too hot to handle?  If Maddie can't stop the hysteria - and the murderous archer - her holiday plans might not be the only thing full of holes.


Maddie Koslowski owns a paranormal museum in San Benedetto, California.  Right now, the town is gearing up for Christmas and the annual tradition of the Christmas Cow - a 30 foot straw cow that seems to be the victim of an accident every year (almost).  This night, Maddie's mother Fran is taking guard duty with the cow; and Maddie is supposed to relieve her soon.  However, she's stalled on a road and ready to call for a tow when the handsome Detective Slade happens the same time Maddie receives a frantic call from her mother - who's never frazzled.

It seems people dressed as gingerbread men  - complete with icing - have sent flaming arrows in the cow, and Maddie and Detective Slade race to the scene.  Finding her mother alright, the detective is on the hunt for the other guard, Dairy man Bill Eldrich.  But it's Maddie and Fran who find him first - with an arrow in his chest.  Now what seems like an annual prank becomes a hunt for a killer - and Fran is determined to find out who that is since it was done on her watch.  Unfortunately Maddie gets pulled into the investigation when her mother is almost killed, and now it's two of them who have to elude a murderer before they're next on the list

Then there's the issue of the haunted cow bells in Maddie's museum.  People are blaming the death on those items, and even insist they're hearing them ring - which doesn't bode well, since the rumor is that hearing the bells portends death. 

Most people in the town think the death is somehow connected to the haunted cowbells in her museum - it seems that before they die, people hear the sound of the bells.  So now Maddie's got a  near-panic by the townspeople regarding the curse of the bells, and she has to figure out a way to calm everybody as well as help out her mother, who's being guarded by the police while they try to keep her safe.  When a second murder occurs, all bets are off for Maddie as she increases her effort to find a killer before her own mother becomes the next victim...

It seems Maddie only has to see a dead body and she's somehow involved in the investigation, and this book is no different.  Of course, since her mother's determined on her quest, she really has no choice; but it makes for a very good mystery indeed.

I truly enjoyed this book, however I felt the fact that her relationship with Mason too conveniently ended just so she could begin another one right away with Detective Slate.  It just felt like both were rushed, especially since she believed she still had feelings for Mason (as she mentioned several times throughout the book). Hence my stating "too conveniently".  Therefore, I felt that her entering into another relationship would have taken longer; but I didn't allow this to dampen my enjoyment of the book at all.

Although this isn't a particularly humorous book by any means, it is indeed good old-fashioned mystery, and one that the reader will truly enjoy.  The characters are likable (with the exception of Detective Hammer - but I am sure others will agree she is not meant to be - and interesting in that the Ladies' Aid stick together through thick and thin, and help each other any way they can.  I especially like the character of Leo, even though he's not a main one, as he's young but managed to find his place in the world and cares for those around him.

In the end, when we discover the murderer and all is well (as we know it must be) we have a well-written mystery with plenty of twists and turns and quite engaging enough to keep one reading through the night.  Recommended.


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