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Buried By Breakfast (Hemlock Falls Mysteries) Mass Market Paperback – December 7, 2004
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The "detective" in this series is a woman ("Quill"), an artist who runs an upscale inn in the Ithaca, NY area with the help of her gourmet chef sister Meg. Quill has a reputation for solving mysteries.
This book begins with a group (a generous word considering how small the group is) picketing to stop a developer from moving a Civil War era cemetary. At the same time, there's a big trial about to begin and for not very credible reasons, the judge decides to sequester the jury -- and Quill is talked into giving them rooms at a low rate because it's off season. Suddenly, the inn is filled with people involved with the trial not to mention various townspeople dropping by, including a strong-willed local woman who is set on getting a volunteer police department going. Eventually there's a murder, and then another, and Quill is trying to find the killer because she has little confidence that the local police will be able to (she believes they need her help and are subtly asking for it).
This book ranks low on credibility (the coincidences are truly amazing) and pacing, and high on coziness. If you buy the coincidences, the plotting makes sense. I was not entirely surprised at the perpetrator, but then I read a whole lot of mysteries. I really don't think I'll read more in this series, however -- just not my cup of tea, I like them with a faster pace. If you like cozies, however, you may very well love this series.
Add in picketing by F.O.D., "Friends of the Dead", protesting moving a Civil War cemetery to make way for a golf course, and the possible development of an upscale hotel that will be in direct competition with the Inn. Did I mention that Quill's boyfriend, Sheriff Myles McHale, is on some secret mission and hasn't called for days?
It's easy to see why tempers flare. But Corliss Hooker, head of F.O.D., has it the worst. He turns up dead. Surely this isn't about the cemetery? Quill puts on her thinking cap and then her black knit cap (the better to burgle) - Hooker was killed because of something in the past. Something that's reared it's ugly head.
"Buried By Breakfast" is a nice easy read, a cozy, with fun characters. There is a lot of humor as these characters interact. The plotting is improbable, but I just settled in for a good read and enjoyed the ride!
Soon after Corliss asks to speak with the Judge, Moody is found murdered; Quill is eager to find out who killed him. She hopes it is Ferris Rodman, who is supposedly planning to build an inn to rival that of the sisters. Quill convinces businesswoman Marge Schmidt to break into Rodman's trailer hoping to find dirt on him, but they get caught. Rodman agrees to not press charges and admits he plans to build an inn by the proposed golf course. The next day Marge asks Quill to help her find her ex husband Buddy who was supposed to meet them at the inn, but when they do he has been decapitated. Quill thinks the murders are connected, but struggles to find the missing link.
A "Hemlock Falls" mystery is always a great reading experience and BURIED BY BREAKFAST is no exception. Claudia Bishop writes an enthralling amateur sleuth mystery with so many suspects mostly guests that readers will not guess who the perpetrator is. The siblings and Marge remain solid protagonists in this highly recommended novel and series.