Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Blackberry Burial (A Berry Basket Mystery #2)

Author:  Sharon Farrow
Genre:   Mystery

Mass Market Paperback; Digital Book
ISBN #:  9781496704887
Kensington Publishing
320 Pages
$7.99; $3.99 Amazon
October 31, 2017


As owner of The Berry Basket, Marlee Jacob has learned a thing or two about surviving the summer tourist season in Oriole Point.  So she gladly agrees to help run the annual road rally in honor of the local Blackberry Art School's centenary celebration.  While alumni arrive from around the country, Marlee hopes the expansive Sanderling farm will make an appropriate starting point for the race - despite rumors that the land is cursed...

But when Marlee surveys the property, she stumbles upon a long-dead body hidden in the bramble.  It's a horrifying mystery to everyone except her baker, who's convinced the skeletal remains belong to a former student who had gone missing twenty years earlier.  As the Fourth of July activities heat up, Marlee must rush to catch an elusive murderer - before the next 'blackberry victim' is ripe for the picking!


Marlee Jacobs owns The Berry Basket, a store centered around berries (obviously) in Oriole Point, Michigan.  She's helping Piper Lyall-Pierce with the Blackberry Road Rally; the person who owns the land where they were going to start has backed out and they need a new place, so with Marlee's suggestion of using the Sanderling place, the two of them - along with Piper's Great Dane - head out to see if it will be suitable.  But when they arrive, the Great Dane escapes and heads to the woods, with Marlee in chase.  But when she finds him, he's digging at something and she sees that he's unearthed a skeleton.  With a call to the police, they're stuck where they are for the moment.

After returning to town, it's not long before the remains are identified - by an unlikely source - and the hunt is on for who buried the woman in the woods and why.  As Marlee starts to dig for answers, she doesn't realize that the closer she gets the more some people are noticing, and one of them wants her out of the way...permanently...

While I really wanted to like this book, I found myself rolling my eyes several times.  Some scenes were just unbelievable.  When her friend Natasha leaves a Yorkie puppy at Marlee's shop (in Natasha's handbag), somehow the little dog escapes and manages to terrorize the people in the shop.  A Yorkie puppy?  A Yorkie?  Really?  Also, this tiny thing also manages to jump into the display window.  Are Marlee's windows only a foot off the ground?  Because the ones I've seen are higher than that, and a puppy couldn't jump into them.  I also have to note that the dogs portrayed in this book are not trained.  They do whatever they want with the owners merely accepting it.

Marlee's also not the brightest bulb in the box.  At one point she asks one of the detectives if they think more bodies were buried in the woods.  Is this place a hot spot for murders to get rid of bodies?  Find one, there must be more?  Just bring your unwanted bodies to Oriole Point and dump them in the woods!  Honestly?  She's also unlikable as a person, and invasive in asking questions of people.  She walks right up to them and wants answers, like she thinks she's a police officer.  Her boyfriend Ryan is just as unlikable, and he never spends any time with her; he seems awfully controlling.

Then there's the fact that somehow Marlee's driving can rival Jeff Gordon's.  It's a wonder she's not out on the track along with Danica Patrick.  Another eye roll.  It's amazing no one was thrown, no one was hurt.  Not realistic.

In the end, the mystery was just so-so; probably because I got tired of Marlee's behavior.  Maybe I expected a better reason for her to involve herself in the investigation, I don't know.  But the book just never drew me in the way others do.  However, I try to give authors the benefit of the doubt, and will read the third in the series before I decide whether to continue on with it or not.

Also, as a bit of trivia in response to something Dean mentioned in the book as to Goya's Naked Maja (which was actually titled The Nude Maja and is coupled with another Goya painting, the Clothed Maja; the Naked Maja was a film based on it) her identity is unknown.  The film took liberties to showcase Ava Gardner.


Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2721996645

More on Sharon Farrow's Books:  https://www.fantasticfiction.com/f/sharon-farrow/

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