Pane and Suffering
A Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery, Book #1
By Cheryl Hollon
Author’s Website: https://www.goodreads.com/CherylHollon
Review brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
To solve her father’s murder and save the family-owned glass shop, Savannah Webb must shatter a killer’s carefully constructed façade.
After Savannah’s father dies unexpectedly of a heart attack, she drops everything to return home to St. Petersburg, Florida, to settle his affairs–including the fate of the beloved, family-owned glass shop. Savannah intends to hand over ownership to her father’s trusted assistant and fellow glass expert, Hugh Trevor, but soon discovers the master craftsman also dead of an apparent heart attack.
As if the coincidence of the two deaths wasn’t suspicious enough, Savannah discovers a note her father left for her in his shop, warning her that she is in danger. With the local police unconvinced, it’s up to Savannah to piece together the encoded clues left behind by her father. And when her father’s apprentice is accused of the murders, Savannah is more desperate than ever to crack the case before the killer seizes a window of opportunity to cut her out of the picture.
Pane and Suffering is the first book in the Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery series by author Cheryl Hollon. I found the pace good and the plot was engaging, if at times a tad slow. The mystery was definitely a well-kept secret (at least from me)…my early prediction of who was the killer…way off!
Savannah Webb (a glass blowing artist who lives in Seattle) returns to St. Petersburg, Florida when her father dies of a heart attack. The original plan was to get through the funeral, set the shop in order and then sell it to Hugh Trevor. Unfortunately, during the course of opening the shop up after the funeral and resuming normal classes, a second death…Hugh! Now this is definitely more than a coincidence. This is where Savannah puts on her amateur sleuthing hat and gets busy. Especially with the bumbling Officer Boulli as the attending officer at the site of Hugh’s death. And there is a pleathoria of potential murderers! Smythe (drinks Bud Light in a British pub…really?!) or freaky Frank. And surprisingly, Jacob.
I found the geocaching aspect interesting…a new twist on communications between a deceased father and his daughter. The use of many codes and cyphers added a bit a mystery and the opportunity for Savannah to communicate with her father, which when one loses a loved one with no notice, can be cathartic. Savannah’s thoughts on this…I found them very touching:
She thought back to how excited her dad had been when he’d discovered the game of geocaching. It seemed a perfect way to introduce his motherless daughter to an outdoor activity that also exercised her brain.
Diversity and acceptance in life and in books is good. I found the inclusion and portrayal of Jacob, a young man with Asperger’s syndrome to be refreshing. I cheered for Detective Parker when he spoke slowly to Officer Boulli (way to tell him by the way!):
“Jacob Underwood has a specific condition called Asperger’s syndrome. He’s developmentally different, not crazy. Sometimes these kids have an intelligence level that is off the scale.”
I also enjoyed reading about his service dog, Suzy. The respect and extra mile Savannah went to be able to include Suzy in the shop was refreshing. Jacob’s contributions to solving the mystery were invaluable as he was able to decipher the clues from geocaching.
Edward…what can I say? An attractive owner of the neighboring pub to the glass shop. And he frequently brings beverages and goodies to the glass shop! Additionally, he knows the secret to making the cash register at Webb’s Glass Shop work. I loved how Edward and Savannah interacted. At times, Savannah seemed exasperated by Edward’s actions and then she seemed smitten. I would certainly enjoy reading about a continuing relationship in future books…if there is one 🙂 Maybe he is the one to help Savannah forget about her ex in Seattle. But then again…the way that Savannah treated him when she found out about something that he certainly should have shared with her was very harsh:
“Burkart told me. Really, you couldn’t find ten seconds to let me know about something that major? I might have made a terrible mistake in negotiating a sale.” “I’m sorry, but I didn’t mean to cause any problems. It was just business—“ “I can’t talk about it now, please leave.” “I’m sorry, Savannah. Let me—“ “Leave, now!” He picked up the tray and headed back to the pub.
As Savannah got her feet wet teaching the course, we were introduced to a myriad of colorful characters. They all brought something to the table and added some much needed humor to the shop at a time of sadness. Always a chuckle with the two sisters!
I am pleased to have been able to read this first book in the new series and will patiently wait for the next installment.