Friday, February 22, 2019

Killed on Blueberry Hill (A Berry Basket Mystery #3)

Author:  Sharon Farrow
Genre:   Mystery

Mass Market Paperback; Digital Book
ISBN #:  9781496704900
Kensington Publishing
288 Pages
$7.99; $5.99 Amazon
October 30, 2018


The Blueberry Blow Out festival has begun and it's time for Marlee Jacob, owner of The Berry Basket, to shine.  Unfortunately it's also bringing out the worst in her fiancé Ryan Zeller.  Ryan's rivalry with Porter Gale, owner of Blueberry Hill Farm, spills over into a very public and very ugly fight.  And after they compete in the pie-eating contest and a raucous tug of war, their orchard blood feud takes a deadly turn...

The death of the king of Blueberry Hill is a shock but not too surprising - he was a diabetic whose last pig out meal was deliciously fatal.  But when authorities discover that someone tampered with Porter's insulin, a tragic accident is looking like murder - and Ryan is the key ingredient.  Now Marlee's investigation to clear his name is taking her deep into the Gale family secrets, and she's being shadowed every step of the way by a killer whose sweet revenge is just beginning...


Marlee Jacobs is the owner of The Berry Basket in Oriole Point, Michigan, a store that sells all things related to berries.  She's participating in The Blueberry Blow Out festival, not only having a booth for her wares, but also sponsoring one of the carnival rides, a bounce house (although technically, this isn't a ride, is it?)

She's also having second thoughts about her upcoming marriage to Ryan Zellar, never more so than when she watches his behavior with rival grower Porter Gale, who manages to push Ryan's buttons.  When Ryan attacks Porter, Marlee leaves to cool off and rethink everything that's occurred.  When she returns to the fair, she finds Ryan.  Not too long after while they're walking they hear screams, and realize that something is wrong with Porter's young wife Sloane.  But it's not Sloane that's in trouble - Porter is taken off the ride they've been on and it turns out that he's dead.  What shocks Marlee is Ryan's reaction to the death, and it's not good.

But she soon learns that Porter was murdered, and Ryan is the main suspect.  While Marlee may be having regrets about her engagement, she knows Ryan's not a killer.  She also finds out that more people than Ryan had problems with Porter, including his own sister, who hated him since she discovered that their father left everything to Porter and nothing to her and her children.

Now she needs to clear Ryan's name, and in order to do so must try and discover who has the most to gain, and who hated Porter the most.  Will she find a killer before a killer finds her?...

This is the third book in the series, and I have to say that I enjoyed it much more than the other two, which fell mostly flat for me.  Marlee has finally developed a backbone where Ryan is concerned; in the previous books she allowed him to push her around and control her and I hate that.  Unfortunately, Marlee is still very much just walking up to people and questioning them.  I'm honestly surprised no one has turned on her yet.  If she hounded me with questions the way she does everyone else, when I saw her coming I'd cross to the other side of the street.  She's not subtle, and she's invasive.  Marlee needs to learn that she's not a police officer, or change the way she questions people.  Seriously.

I also still don't care for the fact that the author compares people to actors and book characters rather than describing them.  The reason for this is, as a reader, I prefer to picture characters in my imagination.  If I'm told they look like an actor or an animated character, I can't picture them any other way.  It's not pleasant to imagine the cartoon character of Alice in Wonderland walking down the street next to Sandra Bullock.  Rather disturbing, actually.  So my personal preference is for the author to describe the character, not tell us someone they look like.

Anyway, I did like this story a bit more than the previous ones, and there weren't as many issues with it, which is always a good thing.  The plot was interesting, and there were enough twists to keep one interested throughout.  A decent book to read for an evening.


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