Release Date: May 28, 2019
Series: Marygene Brown Mysteries
Marygene Brown leaves her abusive husband and returns home to her family home and diner on the small island of Peach Cove, Georgia. Soon after her return, a customer, Joseph Ledbetter, dies right there in the restaurant that Marygene and her sister Jena Lynn are again running together. Jena Lynn becomes the prime suspect in Joseph’s murder, and Marygene is afraid the lead investigator isn’t looking any further than her sister. To clear her sister’s name and the diner’s reputation, Marygene launches her own investigation, but she isn’t truly alone. She is getting a little help from the spirit of her deceased mother!
This entertaining book begins a new series that has the potential to be excellent. The complicated dynamics between the characters, both in the past and present, add depth to the story and make the characters seem more realistic. Even the “good” characters have flaws, which is more believable than everyone being all good or all bad. Marygene’s abusive ex is the exception, since it’s hard to find his good points. I like that even though Marygene and her sister have had a strained relationship, their love for each other is obvious and they are there for each other in times of need.
Marygene goes in head first into the investigation while navigating less than perfect relationships with her sister, father, and late mother. Even though she is still getting over the traumas experienced in her marriage, Marygene puts all the obstacles aside to try to help her sister. Further complicating things are Calhoun, a determined investigative reporter who Marygene isn’t sure she can trust, and her high school boyfriend, Alex, one of the local sheriff’s deputies. Both Calhoun and Alex make it clear they are interested in Marygene and she seems open to the possibility. This seems to be a little soon for someone who went through everything Marygene did in her marriage. The paranormal element is well-done as Marygene looks to her mom for advice on the investigation and tries to repair their relationship which was damaged before her mom’s death.
The investigation itself becomes more interesting as the story goes on. I enjoy seeing Marygene discover several motives and suspects for the murder of Joseph Ledbetter that have nothing to do with her sister or their diner. Although I think it’s a little too soon for Marygene to be thinking about a new romance, I like seeing her work with both Calhoun and Alex to solve the crime. Everything is explained by the end of the book and I enjoy the positive note on which the book ends. For those who want to try to recreate some of the delicious sounding dishes described in the story, several recipes are included at the end. Fans of Diane Mott Davidson will want to try this new series that has a little more depth than the typical cozy.