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Peaches and Scream (A Georgia Peach Mystery) Mass Market Paperback – July 7, 2015
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“Cozy readers will savor every word of this peach of a mystery. Ms. Furlong’s turn-of-phrase is delightful, her characters are endearing, and the mystery will keep readers guessing until the very end. The Georgia Peach mysteries are loaded with Southern charm, sassy characters, and tantalizing recipes—a pure delight!”—New York Times bestselling author Ellery Adams
"Georgia belles can handle anything--including murder--as Susan Furlong proves in this sweet and juicy series debut." --New York Times bestselling author Sheila Connolly
About the Author
Susan Furlong has lived throughout the United States, including the South, but is now happily settled in the Midwest on a small hobby farm with her husband and four children. Writing about peaches comes naturally to her as she grows several varieties of her own. Susan also writes the Novel Idea Mysteries under the pen name Lucy Arlington.
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Georgia Peach Mystery, Book #1
To help run the family peach farm during her parents’ absence, Nola Harper returns to her childhood home of Cays Mill, Georgia, and soon discovers that things back at the farm aren’t exactly peachy. A poor harvest and rising costs are threatening to ruin the Harpers’ livelihood, and small-town gossip is spreading like blight thanks to Nola’s juicy reputation as a wild teenager way back when. But Nola really finds herself in the pits when she stumbles upon a local businessman murdered among the peach trees.
With suspicions and family tensions heating up faster than a cobbler in the oven, this sweet Georgia peach will have to prune through a list of murder suspects—before she too becomes ripe for the killer’s picking…
INCLUDES RECIPES (Goodreads)
If you look up “cozy mystery” in the dictionary, I do believe you will see a picture of Peaches and Scream next to the definition. The author blended Southern charm, suspense, humor and fantastic characters perfectly when she wrote this book.
Cays Mill, Georgia, has as much Southern charm as anywhere you may visit. I loved the fact that at the beginning of each chapter there were Georgia Belle Facts that were informative and amusing. The small town feel and attitude shine through and, as in all small towns, neighbors are in each other’s business and gossip spreads faster than a grease fire. But family and neighbors are always ready to pitch in and help when that is needed. I want to plan my next vacation to Cays Mill.
The mystery is well plotted and carried on throughout the book. There were many suspects to consider and enough red herrings to keep the reader guessing. I did not figure out the killer until it was revealed at the end. That is always a plus for me.
I thought the book was very funny and I had a lot of laugh out loud moments. Things that happen and the thoughts and conversations that Nola has made the book very humorous. One example is when Nola is talking to her friend Hattie about dancing at the Honky Tonk Bar. “Me? I was willing to kick back and wait it out. It was your idea to head out on the dance floor with Mr. Cotton-Eyed Joe”.
The characters are well developed, well rounded and three dimensional. I enjoyed meeting all of the residents of Cays Mill, the likable ones and the not so likable ones. Nola and her family are a very close knit family and have each other’s backs at all times. They did not always agree with each other but they would never leave each other alone in times of trouble. I really enjoyed reading about this family closeness and the family dynamics. Nola also has a few close childhood friends and they added a lot to the story.
The author is very talented in her descriptive writing and brought the pages to life for me. I could smell all the delicious peachy food, see the peach orchards and see Roscoe tripping over his ears while I was reading.
I would recommend Peaches and Scream to anyone who enjoys a well crafted cozy mystery. I am so glad that I read this book and cannot wait to read the next one. I hope this is the start of a very long series. Susan Furlong has a place on my favorite author list. Check out this book, I think you will agree.
The murder mystery was done well, but I felt like the main character didn't really actively participate in solving it. It is becoming a bit cliché in cozy mysteries now that the police officer either is the love interest or does such a bad job that someone else needs to help the case. In this case it's the latter, the officer believes Hollis is the murderer. And Hollis is the husband of the main character her sister and as they value family here, the main character and her brother get involved in helping solve the crime and there's a private investigator they hire as well. Although the private investigator didn't really seem to contribute anything to the investigation and was just there to add some conflict and conversation scenes and stir up the issue about what happened in Nola her past. The main character mainly seemed to go and talk with a gossiper in the nail salon, ran into someone at the right moment and only had a few intentional trying to figure things out moment.
There was an interesting twist towards the end on how the murder mystery got solved, but I wasn't really surprised either. There are multiple suspects form the first moment and one of my main suspects turned out to be the killer. There are some obvious hints that made sure I knew who was involved, just not sure exactly how. There's also a small storyline about the main character her past and the main character never reveals what really happened until the end. I though the mystery didn't really work there and rather just had known what had happened from the beginning as then I would've understood better. Now every time there was this hint about the mysterious happening that scared her away.
The main character Nola was okay enough. I liked her devotion to her family and how fervently she kept believing Hollis was innocent. She also does a lot to help her family farm and it was nice seeing her return to her home town and seeing her fit in the town. She did have a dump moment or two. And I never really fully felt invested or cared about her, but I am hoping that might change in the second book. There are some fun side characters, but mostly it stayed a bit flat and I had a hard time really getting a feel for anyone. I did like her two nieces, her friend Hattie and her neighbour Joe.
There is also a hint of romance, I thought for a bit it would be a love triangle, but it seemed the one guy was part of her past only. So I am kinda glad it won't be a love triangle,but still didn't really care about the romance. I liked both characters well enough, but just never really felt their connection.
To summarize: This was a fun and peachy cozy mystery. I liked the focus on peaches and the orchard. The story does a good job of giving you that southern small town feel feeling and I thought it was well done. The mystery was a bit predictable, as it was obvious who was involved in the murder it just wasn't clear to me how they were involved. There was a nice twist at the end. The mystery about Nola her past fell a bit flat for me. I did like the characters well enough, but never fully got invested in their lives. I did like how Nola cared about her family and tried to help were possible. The romance didn't really do anything for me, but I am glad it won't be a love triangle. All in all it was a fun read and I will probably continue the series.