Thursday, November 1, 2018

Book Review: Killed on Blueberry Hill by Sharon Farrow (Berry Basket Mysteries #3)


Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong mystery and characters
Cons: Listing cons would make me blue
The Bottom Line:
Death at festival
Marlee must clear fiance
Compelling reading




Death Leaves Marlee Blue

Since I've enjoyed the first two books in the Berry Basket Mystery series so much, I was looking forward to catching up with Marlee Jacob and finding out what is going on with her.  Killed on Blueberry Hill lived up to all my expectations.

Summer is winding down, but the residents of Oriole Point, Michigan, aren't ready to let things go without one last festival designed to bring in the tourists.  In this case, it's the Blueberry Blow Out festival, and it includes a week-long event at the fairgrounds, including carnival games and booths.  Naturally, Marlee has set up a booth for her store, the Berry Basket, and between trying to keep both the store and the booth open, she and her small staff are hopping.  And that doesn't count the contests that her fiance, Ryan Zeller, has signed her up for, like the blueberry pie eating contest.

It's after the tug of war that things get heated when Ryan gets into an argument with Porter Gale, the owner of one of the biggest blueberry farms in the country.  There is bad blood between the two families, but even given that, Marlee is shocked at what she observes.  Even more shocking is the fact that Porter is dead only a few hours later.  He appears to have died of complications from his diabetes, but the police aren't so sure.  Naturally, thanks to Ryan's fight, the police want to talk to him.  Marlee is certain Ryan is innocent.  Can she prove it?  What might she uncover along the way?

One reason I really enjoy this series is that the plots offer a bit more than a typical cozy mystery.  Yes, the set up I've teased might sound familiar, but once you get into it, you'll discover that the red herrings are more than just other people with motives but provide their own conflicts and complications without taking away their status as a red herring.  Honestly, it takes the last few clues that Marlee gathers before everything comes into focus for her and us.  Oh, I may have guessed one or two plot points early, but I didn't have nearly everything figured out until the very end.

Naturally, to pull this off, the characters have to be strong.  I would argue that some of the suspects are better developed than some of the series regulars here just because of how much time we spend with the suspects.  Oh, don't get me wrong, we do see the series regulars, and I loved spending time with them again.  In fact, a couple of them provided me with some great laughs.  But we spend so much time with the suspects that we truly get to understand them, which again keeps us guessing until the end.

I was enjoying the book the entire way through, but when I reached the final third, I could barely stand to put the book down.  The twists and complications for Marlee were so compelling I had to know what would happen next.

Being a book about blueberries, you're probably expecting me to mention recipes at this point.  And you'd be right.  We get several blueberry infused sweets including a coffee cake and baked French toast.

Like a good berry, this book has just a bit of kick to go with the sweet cozy trappings.  Fans new and old will enjoy reading Killed on Blueberry Hill.

You'll find more berry goodness with the rest of the Berry Basket Mysteries in order.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.

4 comments:

  1. I totally agree with your review. I just finished the book a couple of days ago, and when I got closer to the end I couldn’t stop reading it!

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    Replies
    1. So happy to hear you enjoyed the latest Berry Basket mystery, Chris!

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  2. Now I need to find this book! You have the best reviews!

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