Release Date: Dec 31, 2019
Series: Welcome Back to Scumble River
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Skye Denison-Boyd is on maternity leave from her positions as a school psychologist and as a consultant with the Scumble River, Illinois Police Department. Her husband Wally is the chief of police and is as happy as ever with Skye and their three-month-old twins CJ and Eva. Things are already hectic for Skye and Wally with the babies living in a small RV while their new house is being built. In the middle of all the chaos, two new cases land on their door. There is a missing woman who may have met with foul play as well as a murdered woman with a surprising tie to Skye and Wally – she is the wife of their slow-moving general contractor! The couple work together to find solutions to these cases before anyone else gets hurt!
This is the third book in the Welcome Back to Scumble River series, which is really a continuation of the original Scumble River series that has several books. I have followed these characters through both series, but think new readers will also enjoy the book. In addition to the mystery aspect of the book, I love seeing Skye’s work at school. I’m glad the author still includes these interesting details in the books because they help make this series unique. I also appreciate that Skye and Wally are dealing with the common issues of juggling work and family, although Skye and Wally’s newly acquired wealth make that a little easier for them. It’s also nice to see a couple working together to solve cases, interviewing witnesses together, and comparing notes at the end of the day. The two make a great team on the job and taking care of their newborn twins. Their love for each other is evident and the way they express their admiration isn’t my any means graphic, but is a little more suggestive than in the typical cozy.
I enjoyed this book, but there are some downsides. I don’t find the ever-present Doozier family to be that entertaining, but am happy their antics are a little less over-the-top in this installment. However, they still play too large of a role in the story for me. Another negative to this book and the series as a whole is the character of Skye’s mother. It’s hard to see a positive aspect of May. I assume she loves her family, but has a strange way of showing it. She is meddling and overbearing and says very unkind things to Skye that are often unbearable to read. I hope that either Skye finds a way to manage her mother or that May plays a smaller role in future books.
The details of Skye’s work at the Scumble River schools and the fact that she and Wally are such a happy couple who are able to balance work and family outweigh the negative of the book. Overall, this is an excellent mystery with interesting characters and cases that will keep you guessing until the very end.