Title: Still Knife Painting
Series: A Paint and Shine Mystery
By: Cheryl Hollon
ISBN: 1496725247 (ISBN13: 9781496725240)
Author’s Website: https://www.goodreads.com/cherylhollon
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
Miranda Trent has set up a sweet life in a scenic corner of Appalachia–until she stumbles across the trail of a killer.
After inheriting her uncle’s Red River Gorge homestead in Eastern Kentucky–smack dab in the middle of the Daniel Boone National Forest–Miranda comes up with a perfect business plan for summer tourists: pairing outdoor painting classes with sips of local moonshine, followed by a mouth watering sampler of the best in southern cooking.
To Miranda’s delight, Paint & Shine is a total success–until someone kills the cook. As the town’s outsider, suspicion naturally falls on Miranda. Murdering the best biscuit baker of Red River Gorge is a high crime in these parts. Miranda will have to prove her innocence before she’s moved from farmhouse to jail cell faster than she can say “white lightning”. (Goodreads)
I have always enjoyed the titles I have read from Cheryl Hollon’s “A Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery Series” so it was a given that I would read the new series. What a wonderful way to start this new series with the title, Still Knife Painting. I was fully engaged from the first page until the last word was written. The characters are interesting, the plot interspersed with intrigue and twists one does not expect and lots of possibilities for future books with mystery abounding as well as potential romance. And lets not forget – a very cute puppy!
Miranda Tate has moved to her late uncle’s homestead in eastern Kentucky (in the Daniel Boone National Forest) after inheriting the property – with one stipulation – to have a working distillery within the first ninety days. Money is tight but Miranda feels she has a solid business idea – a three-hour cultural adventure tour (named Paint & Shine) encompassing a group painting class at a scenic overlook (Lover’s Leap), a speech on local history by Austin Morgan, local forest ranger. Additionally, a traditional southern dinner at her own farmhouse, and to top it all off, a moonshine lecture with samples presented by an owner of a local distillery. The first tour goes as well as expected until … a death occurs! The cook, Mrs. Childers is found in the kitchen with a knife in her chest. The hunt is on to figure out how, why and by whom this tragic event has occurred.
The suspect list turns out to be more extensive than I would have thought. I really appreciated Miranda’s list making that she creates when it becomes apparent that she will need to figure out “whodunit” in time to save her fledgling business along with her farm. Miranda is methodical in her approach and enlists help from Austin (I think a relationship might be on the horizon in future books?) while getting local law enforcement to investigate further since their original assessment is the death is an accident.
The descriptions presented regarding the landscape were imaginatively provocative – I could see what Miranda was describing – as if I was there. It really did make me want to take one of her tours.
Rest assured that there are chuckle worthy moments in this mystery. For example, while visiting the Campton Museum and Ashton trips:
He tried to catch himself by grabbing the edge of a bookcase. Big mistake-it was apparently only being held together by good wishes. It collapsed and took him down with it. He ended up with a pile of dusty books strewn everywhere. “Are you okay?” Miranda tried to pull him up by an exposed arm. She only managed to entangle him more by bumping into a bowl of cat’s-eye marbles. The marbles rolled in all direction and Miranda slipped on one and crashed down on Austin, landing two inches from his face.
I also fell in love with Sandy, Miranda’s rescue puppy. The way that Miranda treated Sandy was great and the puppy’s personality sure shone through during the story.
One interesting thing was that Miranda’s personal thoughts were written in italics. At times, these thoughts were caustic so if I had to say anything negative – it would be that Miranda was a bit sharp in her thoughts. But given that they were her private thoughts and she did not voice them to anyone, it was tolerable.
As with any successful cozy mystery (at least how I measure success), I did not guess “whodunit” until the end – just the way I like my cozy mysteries! I was entertained throughout and couldn’t wait to continue reading. I will wait patiently for the next installment of this fine, new series by Cheryl Hollon.