Top positive review
Excellent, well-written series. Much better than most.
on April 25, 2018
Ivy Malone, a 60-something widow, visits her niece in order to avoid the crime family which seeks revenge for her actions in book 1. She takes a housekeeping job for a very unpleasant neighbor and lands in another murder investigation. This story has essentially no "detecting" going on. Ivy cracks the case by going through life, being kind, caring, and observant. When she finally has enough information to figure things out (but hasn't actually put two-and-two together), in a surprise twist, the culprit attacks her and all is revealed.
This is more a general story than murder mystery. It is full of secondary story lines: the grand-niece and her buddy, the neighbor who helps with cars, the family with a gigantic dog, and Ivy's two gentleman friends. There are realistic details which help round out the characters and story, such as when Ivy panics and moves the dead body, or when the only good police officer is out with a toothache so Ivy doesn't pass on crucial information. Everyday acts of kindness move or resolve plot lines (example: expressing condolences to a bereaved neighbor results in excitement later). The Christian elements are believably woven into the story, as an older person gives advice to a younger, or comments on life.
The reason why this series deserves five stars is the quality of the writing. Many cozy stories read as though all the authors went to the same writing workshop, and read like a good first draft. This author presents rounded characters in each book, not requiring the reader to read multiple books to have a full character. The writing is very well-edited so there is plenty of detail but without waste.