24 February 2012

Just finished reading...

Little Shop of Homicide (Devereaux's Dime Store Mystery #1) by Denise Swanson. 
Release date March 6, 2012.

When the her grandmother's doctor tells Devereaux Sinclair that the elderly woman shouldn't live alone, Dev quits her high-stress job in the city and  moves back to her hometown of Shadow Bend, Missouri (pop. 4,028).  She sinks most of her savings into purchasing the local old-fashioned dime store, which she turns into Devereaux's Dime Store and Gift Baskets.  She soon realizes she left her investment job at the right time, because a few months later, her former boss was arrested for running a Ponzi scheme.

Unfortunately, because her father had been accused of embezzlement when she was a teen, many people felt that perhaps she wasn't completely innocent.. "Many" including the detective who walked into her store on a Monday morning and accused her of murdering the fiancée of her high school boyfriend.

Dev learns that  Detective Woods is not completely impartial, since he'd lost money when the investment firm went bust, and finds her a convenient scapegoat.   Unable to change his mind, Dev and her two BFFs Boone and Poppy decide that the best way to prove he's wrong is to find the actual killer.

Although the detective's vindictiveness seemed somewhat excessive at first, as the story goes on, his extreme behavior towards Dev becomes a little more understandable, but still doesn't make him a sympathetic character.

Devereaux is a likeable character, and it's heartening that the town's sheriff is much more reasonable than his big-city counterpart.  The dynamics of a small town are well-depicted, too.

This is an absorbing and enjoyable mystery, but it does have some fairly suggestive romantic scenes, which may be a problem for some readers.

*FTC Full Disclosure: Many thanks to the publisher, who sent me a copy of the book for review purposes.

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