Dead on the Bayou
June Shaw     

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: A Twin Sisters Mystery
Book: 2

It may be easier to patch up an old home than a broken heart. But along the Louisiana bayou, where beauty and danger mingle all too seamlessly, thoughts of romance may have to simmer on the back burner . . .

Twin sisters and fellow divorcees Sunny Taylor and Eve Vaughn have established their home repair and remodeling business with an eye toward quality and personal attention. So when they’re approached by hunky Dave Price to fix up his bayou fishing camp, they’re more than happy to take the job—especially since they both secretly think he may prove to be more than just another satisfied customer . . .

The ramshackle campsite could certainly use a woman’s touch. What it does not need is a dead body—but that’s what the trio stumble across. Clearly, the poor soul was murdered—and once the town tongue-waggers get going, Sunny, Eve, and Dave come under suspicion of the police, not to mention potential clients . . .

Now, with their futures on the line, their brewing love triangle will have to wait. Helped—and harried—by the twins’ mother and her retirement home’s cadre of amateur sleuths, the trio starts snooping on their own. But when another dead body turns up, they’ll have to get their hands dirtier than a swamp-bottom snake if they hope to clear their names . . .

Identical twin sisters Sunny Taylor and Eve Vaughn are both divorced and jointly own a home repair and remodeling business along the Louisiana bayou. They’re hired by their friend Dave Price to fix up his newly purchased fishing camp and both Eve and Sunny would love for their professional relationship with Dave to become a little more personal. However, when Eve, Sunny, and Dave find a dead body in the house at Dave’s new camp, any plans for remodeling or for romance must be put on hold until Sunny and Eve can prove Dave is innocent of murder.

This is the second book in a new series, but the first I’ve read by this author. There are many cozy mysteries featuring sisters, but I love the idea that the main characters in this series are identical twins. Although they look alike, their personalities are very different. Eve is a man-hungry Southern belle who would be right at home with Blanche Devereaux from The Golden Girls. Sunny is more reserved and although she loves her sister, even though she doesn’t always love what she does. Eve makes no secret about her interest in Dave, but Sunny keeps her feelings for him secret while they’re dealing with murder and Eve is adjusting to her daughter, son-in-law, and new grandson moving away. While this is noble of Sunny, having this fact hang over them throughout the whole book gets old.

The book is based on a great fun premise, but unfortunately, the characters are so exaggerated and over-the-top, they don’t seem like real people at all. Sunny’s habit of singing Christmas carols when she’s scared seems silly and irritating instead of quirky and fun. I had hoped the twins’ mother would be more involved in the investigation. Although Sunny and Eve rush in and out of Miriam’s assisted living home throughout the book, they rarely have a real conversation with her, and so the reader doesn’t have the chance to get to know her.

The remodeling business and bayou setting are interesting, as is the idea of having twins for the main characters. The plot of the book is good and it is fast-paced as Sunny and Eve investigate to find the real murderer. I think the series has promise if the characters could become more realistic giving the reader characters they can care about and to keep their outsized personalities and foibles from overpowering the book.

~ Christine