Die Me a River
Welcome Back to Scumble River #2
By Denise Swanson
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Jeanie
The chips are down in Scumble River
School psychologist Skye Denison-Boyd had hoped that her maternity leave would be at least a little relaxing, but when she and her husband, Wally, meet with the priest to discuss their newborn twins’ christening, an explosion at the nearby bowling alley rocks the rectory. And although the business was closed at the time of the blast, there’s a body inside.
As police chief, Wally is inevitably drawn into the investigation, which seems to indicate that foul play is afoot again in Scumble River, and Skye can’t help but do a bit of her own sleuthing. But the clues come fast and furious, ranging from an odd new stranger in town to animosity toward the gambling machines that had recently been installed at the bowling alley, and Skye finds herself wondering if this could be the puzzle that stumps her for good.
New York Times bestselling author Denise Swanson has penned another hit for cozy fans with Die Me a River, the latest installment in her beloved Welcome Back to Scumble River mystery series. (From Goodreads)
Scumble River, Illinois is still recovering from the tornado that ripped through town, and one insurance company has begun to refuse or severely limit payouts for its faithful policyholders. Skye and her husband Wally are luckier than most folks who lost their homes, as Wally’s father has brought a 45’ luxury RV for them to live in until their home is rebuilt. It does get crowded in there with their twin infants, and Skye is going through the new mom challenges of leaving them, even with her mother, for an hour or two.
They have a date set for the twins’ baptisms, but haven’t yet named the precious boy and girl. Skye and Wally are almost done meeting with the priest to discuss the celebration when a nearby explosion sends them out to find the source. It is at the bowling lanes, fortunately on the one night they are closed. The owner of the bowling lanes is none other than one of Skye’s ex-boyfriends, Simon. His mother, Bunny, who manages it, lives in the one-bedroom apartment on site. When firemen are able to free the apartment door, Bunny runs out…along with…it can’t be. One of the last people Wally would ever anticipate seeing with her!
The firemen inspect inside, and not only have to await a bomb squad to arrive to determine the kind of bomb that went off, but they also find a body inside the closed business. They do not know whether the woman was in the wrong place at the wrong time, or if someone planned to murder her. Other leads could be anyone that Bunny had dated in the past, or even someone protesting the new gambling machines that have come to Scumble River, of which several more are planned to be located around town.
Adding to the crazy is a new shop has opened near the bowling lanes. Enchanted Garden is owned by Millicent Rose, who claims to be a fairy godmother, who wears a blue cape and pointy hat fastened with a pink bow. She claims to grant wishes for free. She has serious concerns for Skye and her babies, saying that evil would take place on the day of the twins’ baptism. For a new mom with her hands full of baby, this potentially deadly turn of events is horrifying.
From Skye, her mother May, Wally and his father Carson to the Dooziers, many of our favorite Scumble River residents are front and center in Die Me A River. We also see ex-boyfriend Simon, who seems to be still in a tree-marking tree mode with Wally. New and short-term people in town include the self-proclaimed fairy godmother and the various insurance people, one of whom was the dead woman. Every character, from old to new, is well-defined, Skye has a unique, wicked sense of humor that is evident throughout, and high school principal Homer Knapik is as cantankerous as ever.
Due to the perceived threat to their twins and a murderer still on the loose, Wally Boyd adds a security detail to the party celebrating their babies’ baptism and a belated baby shower. This Scumble River fan is happy to watch how the mystery plays out, as there are so many possible suspects and so little time. I did not suspect the real killer, so it was quite the surprise to find who the real bad guy/ gal is. Heightening the suspense are plot twists and turns that only this author can pull of. The mysteries coupled with behaviors of new and familiar characters make this a not-to-be-missed addition to the new Scumble River series. I highly recommend this witty, unpredictable, suspenseful, and laugh-out-loud cozy mystery!