Pros: Characters who grow on you, well done plot
Cons: Pacing could have been better overall
The Bottom Line:
Mystery build on
Makes a good debut
No Pain or Suffering for the Reader
I love stained glass. There is something about the mixture of light and colors with the work involved to create it that I find purely enchanting. So naturally a cozy mystery about a stained glass shop caught my attention. Pane and Suffering is the first in this new series from Cheryl Hollon, and it’s a good debut.
Savannah Webb has returned to St. Petersburg, Florida, under sad circumstances. Her father has died unexpectedly of a heart attack, so she has returned home to help settle the estate and sell the family’s stained glass shop to Hugh Trevor, a family friend who has spent years working alongside Savannah’s father in Webb’s Glass. However, the day after the funeral for her father, Savannah finds Hugh dead in the shop.
The police are quick to rule Hugh’s death a heart attack, but two heart attacks in the shop in about a week’s time seem too coincidental to Savannah. Then she finds a note from her father claiming that she is in danger. A cryptic clue left with the note leads Savannah off on a chase for the truth of what is happening in the shop. Can she figured it out before she is next?
I enjoyed this book since the puzzle that Savannah’s father left behind added another layer to the plot. This twist made it stand out in a good way from the many cozies I read. The pacing of the book could have been a little better, overall, since a few of the stained glass scenes slowed down the plot. Things did come together in a very logical way for the suspenseful climax, and the way the clues were slipped into the story was genius.
The characters came alive as the book progressed, and I came to care for them by the end. This was really driven home to me as I felt Savannah’s grief late in the book. The rest of the obvious regulars-to-be make up a very colorful bunch, and I’m already looking forward to seeing how they continue to grow later in the series. The suspects are just as colorful, and I actually found myself rooting for a couple to be the killer.
Many of the books I read make me want to do more with the hook of the series. In this case, I’m ready to tackle a stained glass project, and I’m trying to think about where I could hang something like that in my condo so it would get any light at all. For those interested in the art form, there is a small glossary of common terms at the end of the book as well as some info about ways to take up the hobby.
I am looking forward to visiting Savannah and her new circle of friends again soon. Pane and Suffering is an enjoyable introduction to a great group of characters I hope to visit for a long time to come.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.