Lions and Tigers and Murders, Oh My
Devereaux’s Dime Store, Book #6
By Denise Swanson
Author’s website: www.deniseswanson.com
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
From the New York Times bestselling author of Between a Book and a Hard Place comes the latest Devereaux’s Dime Store Mystery–and it packs a bite.
Opening up a dime store in her hometown of Shadow Bend, Missouri, Devereaux “Dev” Sinclair thought she’d left the wilds of city life behind her. But she’s about to discover that even rural life can be beastly. . .
Handsome private investigator Jake Del Vecchio has rented the office space on the second floor above Devereaux’s dime store, and Dev now finds herself embroiled in his first case, which involves Gabriella Winston, the missing wife of wealthy philanthropist Elliot Winston.
Elliot is determined to open a wildlife park on the edge of town but is facing all sorts of angry opposition–including Gabriella. After the Winstons have a bitter fight, Gabriella disappears, and their house is ransacked. The authorities are quick to claim Elliot killed his wife, but Dev’s not so sure. One thing is certain: Claws are out in Shadow Bend.
There is so much I look forward to when reading a new book in the Devereaux’s’ Dime Store Mystery series and was definitely not disappointed in Lions and Tigers and Murder, Oh My! It is sixth in the series, and the author invites readers in as if it were their first visit, effortlessly re-introducing characters with an even more delightful tale than last time.
When Dev’s beloved grandmother seemed to be losing her memory a couple years ago, she left her career as a financial advisor and returned to her hometown. Dev is now the proud owner of Devereaux’s Dime Store, a unique shop with a variety of appealing items, exciting gift baskets, and a soda fountain. She provides space for various craft and other meeting groups and teens in this early 20th century decor building.
One of the biggest challenges Dev faces is making a decision about which of the two guys she has been dating for several months she will continue to see. While it isn’t an easy choice, as both men have a place in her heart, it is necessary. One is Noah, the hometown doctor, who she had dated in high school until her family imploded and he broke up with her. The other is Jake, a now-retired US Marshall who just opened a PI firm. He lives and also works on his great uncle Tony’s family ranch. To stir up the pot, Gran – Birdie – is dating Tony and roots for Dev to choose Jake. Both men have strong, positive traits, but if she compares them to things that don’t fit her lifestyle, hopefully one will stand head and shoulders over the other.
Jake has his first official client as a PI, sent to him by Police Chief Kincaid. Elliot Winston to see someone work and get results, and feels the police aren’t doing right by him. The very wealthy man’s beautiful wife Gabriella has gone missing. He wasn’t home when she disappeared, and the vandalism in the luxurious home almost appears staged. Dev went with Jake to the Winston home and noted that since her cell phone and other personal items were left out in plain sight, Gabriella probably didn’t leave voluntarily.
Jake and Dev each take a role in the search. Jake does much of the field work and Dev asks questions of her friends and people she knows in the craft groups. They are almost certain Gabriella was kidnapped, not murdered and disposed of by her hubby. Elliot, however, continues his “business as usual” meetings and a fundraiser for the wildlife refuge he has built and is trying to get zoning approval for. It will house animals that are injured and in need of care or abandoned – anything from llamas to big cats. Elliot has funded much of the endeavor, and Gabriella has been concerned that he is spending their considerable fortune on the refuge.
I like Dev and her best friends Poppy and Boone. They have been friends for many years and know almost everything about the other. Poppy seems to be hiding something now, however, that she refuses to talk about. The characters are three-dimensional, and we know Dev the best as we see the world through her eyes. One thing I appreciate is the reality check – Dev sees herself with generous curves and Jake loves her as she is. Love it!
Lions and Tigers and Murder, Oh My! Suspense, a tricky mystery, a red herring or three, a bit of romance, quirky characters, and humor. Lots of humor! These are but some of the things this reader loves in this mystery.
At first there seems to be only one suspect, but as Jake and Dev look at the clues, there may be others, such as those who don’t want Elliot to proceed with the wildlife refuge. If Elliot is guilty, he is certainly a convincing actor regarding his love for Gabriella. When the ransom note appears, the threat is very real. Noah is not thrilled about Dev working a case, much less with Jake, but is trying to stand by quietly. Jake, having seen her skills is more than happy to have her input.
This reader admits to not knows who the real bad guy/ gal might be but there came a point (for me) where it was clear before the truth was uncovered. The ending is very satisfying with every loose end tied. I highly recommend Lions and Tigers and Murder, Oh My to fans of this series and author, and those who like to laugh out loud between moments of suspense and drama.