Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Book Review: Seeds of Revenge by Wendy Tyson (Greenhouse Mysteries #3)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Deep mystery with strong characters
Cons: Dark for a Christmas mystery but worth it
The Bottom Line:
A death at Christmas
Leads us into mystery
Darker but so good

Revenge is on Someone’s Mind this Christmas

Christmas is the season of love and joy and peace on Earth, goodwill to men.  The fact that I enjoy so many mysteries set during the season each year is rather ironic.  But somehow it hit me fresh with Seeds of Revenge since someone’s desire for revenge is such a driving force of the book.

Megan Sawyer is returning to Winsome, Pennsylvania, one night in the middle of a storm when she spots a woman walking on the side of the road.  That woman is Becca Fox, and she is heading into town to spend the upcoming holiday with her aunt and launch her business – The Love Chemist.  Becca’s car crashed in the storm, and she is grateful for the ride.  When Megan drops Becca off at her aunt’s home, she witnesses a tense scene between Becca and Paul, her very estranged father.

A couple of days later, Paul dies in the home he is renting in the area.  At first, this looks like an accident, but the police investigation turns up evidence that it was murder.  Naturally, Becca is a person of interest, but Megan is struck by the similarities to one of the books Megan’s aunt Sarah has written.  Is that a coincidence?  Or is there a message there that will lead to the killer?

This series leans to the traditional side of the cozy spectrum.  No, there isn’t anything too graphic here, but it is more serious than many of the series I read.  This book is no exception.  In fact, the Christmas setting really drives that home since it provides such a stark contrast to the events of the book.

The plot of the book is strong.  I couldn’t figure out what was going on until we reached the end, at which point I could see how everything had been leading to the climax.  Those who have read the first two books in the series won’t be surprised by the tight plotting at all since it’s been a staple of all three books in the series.

But it’s the characters who really make this book so powerful.  As we get to know the suspects and learn exactly what Paul was like when he was alive, we get a sobering picture.  It seems everyone we talk to had a different take on him, so this is one time where the victim becomes a fully fleshed out character.  The suspects are just as strong.

And the series regulars continue to shine.  We don’t see as much of some of the regulars as we might have in the first two books, but those we do get to see are still delightful to spend time with.  Since Sarah is part of the plot, she and Megan have to spend time together, furthering an ongoing storyline, which I appreciated.

Megan works on a small farm and owns a cafĂ© in town.  The first couple of books in the series have featured a recipe, something that is missing here.  True confession time: even though I love looking at the recipes in all the culinary cozies I read, I haven’t made any of the recipes for years, so this is something I am noting only in passing.

Don’t pick up Seeds of Revenge expecting a light Christmas mystery.  But do pick up Seeds of Revenge.  This is a strong mystery that will stay with you after you are done.

Enjoy more trips to Winsome with the rest of the Greenhouse Mysteries.

NOTE: I received a copy of this book.


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