Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Good characters and setting
Cons: Mystery takes a little while to get going
The Bottom Line:
Body in basement
Introduces new series
That shows great promise
Can Iris Sew Up a Cold Case?
If you’ve noticed, I tend to be drawn to cozies that have food themes over the crafty themed cozies. Just a matter of personal taste. However, every so often a craft themed series catches my attention, and that was the case with Hems and Homicide by Elizabeth Penney, the first in the Apron Shop Series. I’m glad I picked it up.
Iris Buckley is excited to be opening a store in her native Blueberry Cove, Maine. Partnering with her grandmother, she is taking her unique apron designs and her love of vintage linens from the internet and creating a real store for them. They’ve just signed a lease on a building, but it is going to need a lot of work to be ready to open by Memorial Day.
On the first day of renovations, Iris makes a gruesome discovery – a skeleton in the basement. Her grandma, Anne, immediately thinks she knows who the remains belong to – Star Moonshine, a woman who came to town for a few months in the 1970’s. Anne always assumed that her friend just moved on, and is devastated to learn she was murdered. Anne wants to get justice for her friend, and Iris is only too willing to help her Grammie out. Can the women figure out what happened all those years ago?
I can see why so many people have been praising this book. It’s got several key ingredients that make cozy fans happy. The first is location. Blueberry Cove sounds like a lovely small town. The location and the shops are perfect for a day of exploring, and I would love to be able to spend time there in real life.
Next are the characters. Iris and Anne are great, and I enjoyed meeting them. Iris has several good friends in town. I didn’t feel we got to know all of them that well, yet, but that’s a function of how much page time they got. I’m sure we will get to know them more as the series goes along. The love interest is quite charming as well. The suspects were all strong and did their part to keep me guessing.
Despite all of this, I did struggle a bit with the plot at the beginning of the book. While things got off to a quick start, the plot still didn’t really get going until we were a third of the way in. However, when it did get going, I was hooked. In fact, the surprises kept coming right up until we reached the climax, which tied everything up with a bow.
Hems and Homicide is a debut that introduces us to a great new location and cast of wonderful characters. Prepare to be charmed when you pick it up. As soon as you finish, you’ll be ready for your next visit.