Hems & Homicide (Apron Shop #1)
Author: Elizabeth Penney
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: December 31, 2019
Iris Buckley and her Grammie (Anne) have decided to open a store called Ruffles and Bows in Blueberry Cove, Maine. The store is set to sell all sorts of household linens including new and vintage items. Iris and Grammie go to the store to meet a contractor about work that needs to be done before the store can open. But while stumbling along in the basement after the lights go out, Iris bumps into a skeleton. Grammie comes down and immediately recognizes the scarf on the skull’s head as belonging to Star Moonshine, a friend of hers from the seventies. Iris and Grammie wonder how successful the investigation will go, given the case is over 50 years old and the fact that nobody knows Star’s real name, and they wonder if they can do anything to help. Not long afterwards, another body is found in the store. This time it is a man named Elliot who was the landlord of the building. Grammie had a long standing conflict with Elliot over land she owned, and he wanted. She seems to have the greatest motive for killing him and becomes the prime suspect. Can Iris help clear her grandmother’s name before she is charged? And can she do it in time to make sure their store opens by Memorial Day, the ever important beginning of tourist season.
I’m going to start with a small critique I have with the story. I thought it was rather strange that the ladies were almost run off the road and received threatening messages even before the investigation really gets under way. This is somewhat explained in the conclusion, but it seemed to me that someone was looking for trouble, before trouble was to be had.
Other than that, I thought the author laid out an amazing story. The plot is complex and exciting. With the deaths forty years apart the author gives a great peek at what life was like in this small town in both the 70s and today. As a reader we have to follow all the exciting climbs and sudden drops to figure who the culprit or culprits are and why the crimes were committed.
The characters also really help to make this a strong story. Iris and her Grammie are very relatable and likable. Iris’s girlfriends are also great secondary characters. They are each unique and bring something special into her life. Iris and her one friend in particular, Madison, do a good job of looking into the case without being a nuisance to the police. We are also introduced to other town characters which help us gain an understanding of how this small town fits together, even as far back as to the 70s.
This story was fun and well sewn together, and it makes a great addition to the cozy mystery genre.
Thanks to Net Galley and St. Martin’s Press for an ARC of this book.