Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
Yarn shop owner Kath Rutledge is at a historic farm in Blue Plum, Tennessee, volunteering for the high school program Hands on History. But when a long-buried murder is uncovered on the property, Kath needs help from Geneva the ghost to solve a crime that time forgot….
Kath and her needlework group TGIF (Thank Goodness It’s Fiber) are preparing to teach a workshop at the Holston Homeplace Living History Farm, but their lesson in crazy quilts is no match for the crazy antics of the assistant director, Phillip Bell. Hamming it up with equal parts history and histrionics, Phillip leads an archaeological dig of the farm’s original dump site—until one student stops the show by uncovering some human bones.
When a full skeleton is later excavated, Kath can’t help but wonder if it’s somehow connected to Geneva, the ghost who haunts her shop, and whom she met at this very site. After Phillip is found dead, it’s up to Kath to thread the clues together before someone else becomes history.
I have read several cozy mystery series from any point in the series before with no ill consequences. I must admit…it was VERY difficult to get into the story starting at book #4. I did not feel like there was an adequate introduction of all the cast of characters…and there were many. So it took me quite a while to get into the story. Mind you, once I got into the story (about ½ way in); I really began enjoying the story.
Some of the cast of characters were sure interesting! The sisters Mercy and Shirley were “unique” characters. I liked their quirkiness. Geneva was hard to get into in the beginning…until I realized she was a ghost and was hanging around the lead sleuth – Kath. And to have Geneva’s story interwoven with the extra dead bodies that were found was captivating. I really enjoyed the historical aspects…bringing Geneva’s past into the present.
A different twist to cozy mysteries (at least to me) was that it was not one sleuth…but a “posse” of sleuths. Refreshing to see that it truly did take a village to crack the case(s). I also enjoyed that the characters had depth. The posse had lives of their own, but met to work on the mystery on what seemed like a fairly scheduled time frame.
Deputy Cole Dunbar – or “Clod” as he was commonly referred to by Kath is bit of a bumbling sheriff. While it seems he does not like Kath and her posse’s interference, I found that he at times sailed to proper conclusions based on the posse’s findings. I found the relationship between Cole and Kath interesting. I like to think that Cole secretly admired Kath’s sleuthing skills. And of course, it was a tenuous relationship that had to be tolerated since Kath was dating Cole’s brother, Joe. And according to Kath…he was a renaissance Blue Plum man…
“He could paddle a canoe, knit a baby hat, and toss a pizza. He painted beautiful miniature watercolors, had an open and curious mind, enjoyed old movies, and read contemporary mysteries.”
You could just tell she was smitten with the total man, whom did become invaluable in the solving of the mysteries in this book.
Now this had me giggling….(what an amateur sleuth that Kath is 🙂 ):
“Why do you always show up when I –“ With effort, I swallowed the rest of my words. When I’m in the middle of an investigation would have been a bad way to end that sentence. When I’ve just snooped around a murder victim’s property after illegally gaining access would have been a worse way.
As far as mysteries go…I was not able to figure out the “who-dunnit” until the very end….a happy scenario for me when reading cozy mysteries. I like being kept on the edge of my seat until the very end. I will put on the TBR list the prior three books (and yes, I will read them in order) and see if the beginning of this story makes more sense once that is done.
All in all an enjoyable cozy mystery and if you have been following this series, I am certain you will enjoy the flow of the book right from the start.