Thursday, September 9, 2021

Book Review: Death of a Red-Hot Rancher by Mimi Granger (Love is Murder Mysteries #1)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Good mystery filled with fun characters
Cons: Misunderstandings drove me crazy, but a minor part of the plot
The Bottom Line:
Handsome rancher dies
But is Lizzie’s aunt guilty?
Promising debut

Lizzie Find Murder Heats Up Her Life

I always enjoy it when I find a twist on the familiar themes of a cozy mystery series.  We’ve got one of those with Death of a Red-Hot Rancher.  While we have plenty of libraries, general bookstores, and mystery bookstores, this is the first series I know of that features a bookstore that specializes in romance novels.

Lizzie Hale has turned her love of romance novels into the successful Love Under the Covers bookstore.  If only her love life were as successful, but she seems to find herself turning into a disaster around attractive men.  Case in point is Brody Pierce, the most handsome man in town.  Even though Lizzie isn’t interested in Brody because he is older than she is and because he has a reputation as a ladies’ man, she still gets tongue tied when she sees him.

After Brody dies on the buffalo ranch he owns, Lizzie begins to think that her aunt might have been Brody’s secret lover, which just might give her motive for murder.  The more she looks into the case, the more it seems to point to her aunt.  Can Lizzie clear her aunt?  Or will her efforts doom her aunt?

Since I don’t read romances, I wasn’t planning to pick up this book until I learned that Mimi Granger is the latest pen name for the author I know best as Kylie Logan (which I realize is a pen name as well).  I’m glad I gave it a try.  No, I didn’t know much about the romance writers that were name dropped, but I still think I’d love to visit this bookstore.  It sounds quirky and fun.

Quirky and fun also describe the characters.  Don’t worry, there is some depth to them, so they aren’t caricatures.  Still, they provide plenty of fun as the book unfolds.  While it was easy to identify a few series regulars, the suspects felt just as real as everyone else we met, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a few of them popped up in future books.

Unfortunately, part of the plot is driven by Lizzie misinterpreting things she sees and conversations she has.  It’s not my favorite plotting technique, so I wasn’t happy with that.

Fortunately, that’s a small part of the plot.  Lizzie does a good job of uncovering secrets, motives, and clues.  Everything, including those misunderstandings I talked about earlier, all makes sense once we reach the climax.

And yes, I did laugh at some of the antics of the characters over the course of the book.  It truly is a fun read.

If you are looking for a light mystery, Death of a Red-Hot Rancher is for you.  This series debut promises more fun to come.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.


  1. Thanks for your comment on my blog that this is Kylie Logan (and her books as Lucy Ness are really fun)! I've enjoyed other books by her. I'm about to start this one and I'm glad to see you enjoyed it. I'll be prepared to grit my teeth through the misunderstandings.

  2. I think the setting is interesting: a bookstore specializing in romance novels. The author is very creative to have dreamed it up.


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