Summed up: Following the tried-and-true cozy mystery formula, the book follows a mid-30s single lady who’s returning to her quaint hometown to start life anew. She finds herself embroiled in a murder mystery when someone knocks off her aunt’s adversary, a conman who claims to be her half-brother. Our hapless small town sleuth must nab the killer before her aunt gets thrown in the slammer. There’s also a fun little subplot involving an enigmatic black cat named Hitchcock who is feared by many as the harbinger of bad luck. Mayhem ensues as she tries to save the cat from a crazed madman while sorting out the many, many suspects.
What I liked: I LOVE the Texas Hill Country and escape to Fredericksburg every chance I get. So it was fun immersing myself in the atmospheric Texas-German hamlet amidst the hills and valleys dotted with lazy cows and scrubby trees. How amazing would it be to live rent free in a cabin retreat where you can just write mystery books all day long with a cute little black kitty sidekick curled up by your side? Oh, but to dream.
Character critiques: I didn’t love nor hate Sabrina. She’s just a nice bowl of vanilla ice cream, pleasant enough but in need of some colorful sprinkles. Although I must admit that she scored some cool points when she rescued Hitchcock from the overly superstitious village idiots. For a murder mystery author, you’d think she’d have some sleuthing skills, but really she just stumbled upon the clues the same way she practically tripped over the dead body slumped under a tree. Time to step it up, girlfriend, if you want me to continue with this series.
Problem areas: OMG Aunt Rowe! Need I say more? This woman was SO clueless and flippant about being the No. 1 suspect in a murder case. I got the sense that she was supposed to be a quirky, silly old lady, but really she was annoying AF! She dug herself deeper into the hole by making glib statements to the police like, “Of course I hated him and wished he was dead.” Oh lordy. Of course, she didn’t want to cooperate with her niece who was trying so hard to keep the po-po at bay. I think the ending would’ve been much more satisfying if they just threw the old bat in the slammer and let Sabrina take over her quaint little cabin resort. Seriously, I should write this shit.
This book is best pared with: A stiff bottle of Scottish whiskey (you’re going to need it when dealing with the infuriatingly naïve Aunt Rowe) and a purring cat on your lap. Don’t ask Lil Bootz though because that crazy flying squirrel never sleeps!
Will I read another book in this series? Yes, most likely because I love the setting and would like to know what else is in store for Hitchcock. Also it’ll be interesting to see if Sabrina will ever finish her dang book!