Buttermilk Creek Mystery #2
By Mollie Cox Bryan
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
Welcome to Shenandoah Springs, Virginia, the bucolic small town where Brynn MacAlister keeps cows, churns cheeses–and is sharper than the ripest cheddar when it comes to solving mysteries . . .
With a foster cow in her corral and a new calf on the way, Brynn MacAlister has a lot on her plate. Especially since her micro-dairy farm is hosting the first annual cheesemakers contest at this year’s summer fair. A relative newcomer, Brynn’s hoping the contest becomes a tradition, bonding her even more strongly to the community. But when a mysterious tractor accident looks suspiciously like murder, Brynn suspects someone is up to
no-gouda . . .
Some folks say the lead suspect was just defending his underage daughter from a suitor more mature than a vintage provolone, but Brynn isn’t buying it. Especially when another dead body turns up and Brynn’s top cheesemaker falls under suspicion. It’s enough to make a girl bluer than her best Stilton. But not enough to stop Brynn from getting to the bottom of things. What she discovers is the small town harbors some pretty unsavory characters. And the closer Brynn gets to the killer, the deeper she gets into danger…. (Goodreads)
Goodnight Moo, the second book in the Buttermilk Creek Mystery series, is just as charming as the first book Christmas Cow Bells. Its bucolic setting, endearing characters, and intricate mystery make it perfect for fans of cozy mysteries.
After solving her friend’s murder, Brynn is ready for the slower paced life on her farm and cheesemaking. She is excited about the upcoming fair and its first ever cheese contest. The community is in a tizzy when a summer worker is killed by a fellow farmer’s tractor. Surely, it was an accident, right? When Brynn’s assistant Wes stumbles across the body of another summer worker, he becomes the prime suspect. Brynn refuses to believe Wes is guilty and sets her sights on finding the real killer even after she is impeded by an injury. Her investigation highlights the potential dangers of technology and the dark side of man.
Brynn is friendly and curious, and she loves her cows. She has a heart of gold and likes to see the best in people, but she faces some unsettling truths about her community when Wes, who is of Pakistani heritage, must deal with racism. Author Mollie Cox Bryan does a fantastic job handling the subject of prejudice with a deft hand, making it a minor but very important part of the story, without becoming political. Though Bryan could not have predicted the cultural climate in which her book would debut, it is timely and thought provoking.
The mystery is solidly executed with many components that tie together seamlessly by the tale’s end. I thought I knew exactly who the killer was for a good deal of the book, but I was so wrong. With each incident, there are more clues and suspects, with some red herrings, too, to put in order to solve the bigger puzzle. I like how Brynn is still able to do serious sleuthing, despite her injury, with the help of her sister Becky and Wes.
Goodnight Moo is entertaining, light reading with enough of the real world sprinkled in to make readers evaluate their own preconceptions of others. I recommend it to any cozy reader, especially those interested in cheesemaking and cows. I look forward to more time spent with Brynn in future installments in the Buttermilk Creek series.