Monday, August 16, 2010

Buzz Off, by Hannah Reed

Buzz Off (A Queen Bee Mystery)Melissa "Story" Fischer has a lot to celebrate.  It is September, National Honey Month, her businesses, both the Wild Clover Market, and her share of Queen Bee Honey, are booming, and her divorce to that cad Clay is official.  But when her friend and business partner Manny is found dead, it certainly puts a damper on things.  Before you know it, the bees are blamed for his death, more crimes are committed, and it is clear treachery is afoot.  And it appears Story is at the center of it all.  How will she clear her good name and save her beloved bees?

I had to admit, I was a bit beguiled by the idea of a bee mystery.  How could bees be involved in a mystery, I wondered?  Very skillfully, it turns out.  This story is set in a very small Wisconsin town, and being a small town girl myself, I am a sucker for a small town story.  There is just something about the people in a small town that make for good story telling.  And Hannah Reed does a wonderful job of capturing the essence of a small town and its people in this book.  Before you are through the first chapter, you feel like you are a part of the town, steeped in its heritage and traditions.

The storyline itself is very original, while sticking to traditional mystery guidelines.  Plenty of red herrings to be found and throw off the reader.  I was fooled right up to the very end, having never been very good at figuring out mysteries.  I also likes the humerus and romantic undertones to the story, it kept things interesting.  And I loved the little quirks that some of the characters exhibited, for example, the unique way of speaking which Holly, Story's sister, has throughout the book.

All in all, a great little late summer find.  Apparently, this is the first in a series called the Queen Bee Mysteries.  I am interested to see what the next one will be like, and how bees will play into it.  As an added bonus, there are some delicious recipes at the end of the book.  Clearly, the book caters more to female mystery readers, and female readers in general.  I nice, entertaining book overall.

A touring review copy of this book was provided courtesy of Crazy Book Tours.


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