Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
In Sugar Grove, New Hampshire, people are serious about their maple syrup—especially Dani Greene, whose family owns the Greener Pastures sugarhouse. But when murder disrupts the small-town sweetness, Dani pores over clues to draw out a killer...
Despite being a fourth-generation syrup maker, Dani isn’t stuck in the past. She’s starting a new agricultural cooperative that reduces costs for every syrup producer who joins. Everyone considers it a sweet deal except the die-hard curmudgeon Frank Lemieux—and when a saboteur starts targeting supporters, everyone suspects Frank.
But it turns out they’re barking up the wrong tree when Dani finds Frank murdered in his own sugarhouse. As the sabotage continues, she realizes that Frank was framed. With the help of her family, and a handsome official from the Fish and Game Department, Dani must catch the killer before another syrup maker kicks the bucket. (Goodreads)
Dani – a diminutive 27 year old maple syrup maker, I found to be a relatable protagonist. I liked her character, a bit quirky, however….being petite myself, I got real tired of her describing herself in a derogatory (self deprecating) manner with respect to her height. And throughout the book, the townspeople are referring to Dani as a “pipsqueak” – Bob says:
“Mitch called me in here to question me because of your tattling. I didn’t have anything to do with what happened to Frank and I have a whole lot better things to do with my time than to be here answering a bunch of insulting questions because a pipsqueak like you had to offer up opinions on stuff she know nothing about.”
All I have to say is, really…..I know as a petite person, I would not put up with people calling me names! So needless to say, this has distracted from my enjoyment of the book.
Mitch – the scorned beau of Dani and local law enforcement officer. His going out of his way to give Dani tickets for clearly things beyond her control is humorous….and childish at the same time. He has to step up and investigate the murder of Frank while the chief is away on vacation (with Dani’s mother no less). At times I felt he was an inept officer of the law.
Celadon – older sister….trying to help Dani’s love life (or lack thereof) with Graham – the conservation officer. We were not privy to very much personal information regarding Celadon….I expect more to come in future books? Just my guess. I think there certainly is more to her story than was told in this book.
I found the wording quaint at times…as an example:
“At least not since Coleman Price moved on to that big bingo hall in the sky three winters ago.”
The writing style is light when bringing up sensitive subjects. I find this endearing as I know they are speaking of a person dying….but the way it is broached is sensitive.
I had a great chuckle over the bingo game (meat bingo….what an awesome idea) where Graham and Knowlton were pitted against each other…trying to impress the object of their affection (Dani of course).
“The Stack” – A homey restaurant to eat your main dish with….”Maple Syrup” of course. Reminds of the sugar shacks in Quebec….ahhhh….good memories.
One character I took a shine to was Piper. She had a relatable work ethic, separating her love life from her work life. Now if she would get away from short term flings and see what is right in front of her – or should I say who – Loden – her love life might be of a more permanent nature.
Unfortunately, I found the book just okay. I suspect that is mostly a result of how Dani is portrayed. The mystery part was adequate. The chase to find the killer was a bit lack luster. I think the most exciting story line involved Piper….and I will NOT say any more on that. I do not want to tell her secret OR the identity of the killer….just not going to happen. 🙂
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*