Botched 4 Murder
Sophie Kimball Mystery #4
By J.C. Eaton
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
Sophie “Phee” Kimball is getting dragged into the drama again at her mom’s Arizona retirement community. A new board member wants to get rid of two golf courses and replace them with eco-friendly parks, and some of the residents are pretty teed off about it. On top of that, her mother’s book club friend Myrna is being pushed out of the bocce league. These seniors are serious about winning, and Myrna’s dragging them down. She’s so bad at bocce, in fact, that when a community member’s dead body is discovered while Myrna’s practicing for a tournament, she assumes it was one of her own errant balls that killed the woman.
But before Myrna can be tossed off the bocce court and into criminal court, the police find an arrow in the victim’s neck. It looks like this was no accident–and Phee and her investigator boyfriend Marshall will have to team up to bounce a killer into the slammer . . . (From Goodreads)
One of these days I will have to take a drive down the street to Sun City West, Arizona to see what Bocce ball is, especially since it is central to this cozy mystery. Sophie “Phee” Kimball enjoys the new life she has in Arizona, with Marshall, the PI she is dating, her bookkeeping position for Williams Investigations, and her friends. Well, except for the shenanigans her mother, Harriet Plunkett, and her friends from the Booked 4 Murder book club drag her into. And Streetman, Harriet’s dog? Please. The eccentric bunch of book club members, the pinochle group, and bocce ball tournament players keep the novel not only interesting, but full of humor.
Phee came to Arizona when a retired Mankato, MN detective opened a PI firm in Glendale, AZ. She and Nate Williams worked together at Mankato PD, and he asked if she would come to handle the firm’s finances. Marshall Gregory was also a Mankato detective, and came to work for Nate. Marshall and Phee each had secret crushes on the other when in Mankato, and in Arizona they began to date.
Nate and Marshall have learned that when Phee’s mother calls, there could be trouble for them. She comes up with some of the strangest crises. This time, Phee and Marshall are talked into attending the Sun City West Rec Centers Board of Directors meeting where new business is brought up by the newest board member, Sorrel Harlan. Her proposal, if accepted by the board, would close at least a couple Sun City West golf courses to turn them into eco-friendly parks. The parks would be grandchildren-friendly, where parties and community celebrations could be held. The parks that would cause the “golf course view” home values to plummet. Voices are raised, some say, “over your dead body” and others would be happy if it were her dead body.
Unfortunately, the prediction came true the next morning. The bocce players are practicing, and Myrna, the worst player on the team, knocks three balls from the bocce court to the golf court. Bill went to pick up the balls to find the face-down body of a murdered woman…not with a bocce ball but an arrow.
Politics really can be murder! The woman is Sorrel. The Sheriff’s department contracts with Williams Investigations to consult on the case, as they were already overrun with cases; Nate’s company takes care of some of the minutia such as comparing who from the bocce league or other various interests are archers. Phee starts to go on crazy errands to placate her mother or satisfy her curiosity. Including checking out the mansion where Sorrel’s widower lives to see if she can find anything that could pin the murder on him. Or going to the condo community where a murdered man had lived. Nothing could have prepared her for…well, you’ll find out soon enough.
Phee must be a strong woman to be Harriett’s daughter. We already know she is brilliant with numbers, and even when unwilling, a very helpful sleuth. Even when she does some dumb stuff. Like casing the joint belonging to Sorrel’s widower. Even when the dumb stuff sometimes finds a clue that changes the course of the investigation. She is very well-defined, as are the other characters. I could almost anticipate going to the bagel place and seeing, and hearing, the kooky book club ladies, almost like a table full of Lucys and Ethels, with Phee rolling her eyes. I like seeing Phee and Marshall together, and enjoy Augusta, the firm’s secretary.
Fourth in the series, Botched 4 Murder can be read as a standalone so well is the backstory included. I can promise that if a reader likes to laugh, said reader might want to read the three preceding mysteries. Each one in the series is better than the last. I like how the mystery builds into a complex story full of surprising twists and turns, even suspects that sound so good but simply don’t work out. I couldn’t figure out who the real bad guy or gal might be! One of the people involved never even made it to my “list”, another one I barely thought about. The mysteries are solved without leaving loose ends. This is a fabulous cozy mystery for those who enjoy humor with their well-written cozy mysteries and retirement towns with quirky characters. I highly recommend Botched for Murder and the rest of the series. The authors have hit a home run, or whatever the Bocce ball method of scoring is. Don’t miss it!