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The Murder of a Queen Bee (A Henny Penny Farmette Mystery) Hardcover – September 27, 2016
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About the Author
Meera Lester is the author of the first Henny Penny mystery, A Beeline to Murder, and nearly two dozen nonfiction books. She is the proprietress of the real Henny Penny Farmette, located in the San Francisco Bay area. While raising chickens and honeybees, she draws on her life with her animals and gardens as the basis of her Henny Penny Farmette mysteries. She blogs about life there at hennypennyfarmette.com. You can also visit her at meeralester.com/mlls; facebook.com/meera.lester; and twitter.com/MeeraLester.
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Hours after Fiona was a no show to the scheduled lunch her body is found in a burned out car in what looks to have been a horrific accident. But what the medical examiner finds is a bit shocking, it was obvious that Fiona had already been dead before the fire, Abby is immediately drawn into the investigation out of loyalty to her friend.
The Murder of a Queen Bee sounds like the exact kind of cozy mystery that I should have absolutely loved to read. The idea that the main character was once a police officer was very appealing since sometimes I just can't get behind a character getting involved in solving a murder who had no previous experience.
Unfortunately though it didn't take long to find that this book just really wasn't my cup of tea. The story often gets a bit overly descriptive to the point it became a tedious read that feels more like I'm being taught about every little detail than enjoying a fictional whodunnit. But also another thing I found a bit frustrating was between each chapter it jumps into recipes and tips that just completely broke up any flow of the story for me. As much as that seems like a great addition I would personally prefer it be held off until the end.
Overall, just not my cup a tea I'm afraid. A bit too detailed narrative and wasn't a fan of the formatting with some added extras.
I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Murder of a Queen Bee is a cute story, but it was lacking in the mystery department. Meera Lester has a conversational writing style that makes for an easy to read novel (though she can get a little too descriptive at times). Unfortunately, there was too much focus on Clay Calhoun. Besides his good looks, I do not know what Abigail saw in him (he lacks substance). Personally, I would not even have let him in my house (and he was not needed in the book). We get quite a bit of information on herbs in the book (actually too much information). It was interesting, but I wanted more substance in the story. I found the killer to be very obvious (no clues needed). I kept hoping there would be a twist or something unexpected, but I was disappointed. It was more about finding the evidence needed to convict the killer (especially during the second half of the book). One annoying thing is the tips at the beginning of each chapter. Most of them are not helpful or interesting. To me they just interrupted my reading pleasure. There are also recipes at the end of each chapter. I would prefer they were at the end of the book. Kat is supposed to be Abigail’s best friend, but she comes across more as a source of information. When Abigail needs information to help her investigation, she calls Kat (even though she knows Kat is not supposed to give out the information). I give Murder of a Queen Bee 3 out of 5 stars. It was okay, but not for me. The idea or premise is good for a cozy mystery, but this author just did not make it work.
I am excited to travel back to Las Flores, California for my second visit to the Henny Penny Farmette owned by Abigail Mackenzie.
After leaving the police force Abby has become a farmer/beekeeper but she still does private investigations on the side. She is also remodeling her farmhouse as time and money permits. When her friend Fiona fails to show up for lunch at Abby’s farm, first she get a little testy but then she gets worried. Kat, her former partner, was at the farm for lunch too, but she is called away for a car fire, their friend Fiona appears to be the victim. Abby can’t help but get involved. When the investigation leads to a commune outside of town Abby get caught in a very dangerous situation. As if she doesn’t have enough bees in her bonnet her ex boyfriend, Clay has strolled back into town and expects to pick their relationship up right where they off. Bee-leive me she really doesn’t need to deal with this guy especially because she may have feelings for a couple of other men around town.
I have become a huge fan of Abigail Mackenzie. She knows everyone on the police force and they really don’t seem to mind too much when she helps them clear their cases. She is very observant and insightful but she sometimes forgets she no longer has a gun to protect herself. Nothing seems to hold her back. Back in the day, she would have been called a “gutsy broad”. Her love life is a bit of a mess but she really in too busy to evaluate that right now. Her growth throughout the story was a pleasure to see. I also am head over heals crazy about her dog.
All the other characters are very fleshed out and bee-lievable. Good or bad I had a good grasp of who they were and how they fit seamlessly into the story.
Meera Lester writes in a way the makes you almost feel as you are watching the mystery play out on television. Visualization was super easy. I was engaged in the story from the beginning to the end. The mystery was well conceived and there were plenty of suspects. Some of the clues were of the red herring variety but I enjoyed following all the clues very much. The pace was perfect for me.
I appreciated the farming tips and recipes that started each chapter as well. In the e-book advance review copy they fell into place a bit clumsily, but I am sure they shine in the print editions.
I found The Murder of a Queen Bee to “bee” a first-class mystery, full of interesting characters, tempered with humor and just a little romance.
I am really excited to read the next book in this series. A Hive of Homicides hits stores later this month.
Most recent customer reviews
Author: Meera Lester
Publisher: Kensington Books
Bees=honey=recipes=cozy mystery=Henny Penny Farmette Series.Read more
It took me a while to get into this book, but I did end up enjoying it.Read more