by Meera Lester
Published September 27th 2016 by Kensington
Synopsis: All abuzz about murder . . .
Former police officer Abigail Mackenzie has made a fresh start as a beekeeper and farmer in picturesque Las Flores, California—but she never suspected her new hometown would prove to be a hive of criminal activity.
When Abby invites her free-spirited friend, Fiona Mary Ryan, owner of Ancient Wisdom Botanicals, to her farmette for lunch, she never imagines that Fiona’s no-show will lead to a murder investigation.
Only hours after their lunch date, Fiona’s body is found in a burning car in what at first appears to be a tragic accident. But after the coroner’s report is issued, it’s clear she was dead before being placed in the vehicle. Someone has gone to great lengths to cover up a murder. But who—and why?
Driven by her loyalty to her friend, and her deeply ingrained skills as a trained investigator, Abby sorts through suspects—who seem to be sprouting up everywhere. Speculating that Fiona’s herbal business might hold the key to motive, Abby isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty to smoke out a killer . . .
Includes farming tips and delicious recipes!
My Review: This is the second Henny Penny Farmette Mystery and I enjoyed it as much as the first one.. Abigail (Abby) Mackenzie left her former job as a police officer after an injuray and made a fresh start for herself as a beekeeper and farmer in Las Flores, California. As busy as Abby is running her business, she seems to get drawn into the investigations of crime in the town. It could be that best friend and former partner Kat gives her too much information, but whatever it is she is neck deep in the murder investigation of her friend Fiona. Hours after Fiona was a no show to the scheduled lunch with Abby and Kat, her body is found in a burned out car in what looks to have been a horrific accident. But what the medical examiner finds is a bit shocking, it was obvious that Fiona had already been dead before the fire, Abby is immediately drawn into the investigation out of loyalty to her friend. She also has a bit of guilt as Kat had called her rather anxious to talk about something bothering her, and Abby had scheduled the lunch instead of meeting with her right away.
The mystery was not hard to figure out, but the story was more about Abby, her life and what she was going through. Her old live-in boyfriend arrives back in town wanting to pick up the pieces, Fiona’s brother Jack seems to have feelings for Abby that she reciprocates, the commune is becoming more cult-like, and Kat is looking for romance in Abby’s neighbourhood. All that adds to the story to give the characters more substance. There is a little bit of a teaser about some commune members who disappeared so I do not know if that will be explored in the next book or not. Overall a satisfying read. My one complaint was the length of the sections at the end of each chapter. Some were rather long and broke up the story just a little too much, I actually stopped reading them. I enjoyed the recipes and the short bits from the Henny Penny Almanc that began the chapters though. If you are looking for a whodunit where the culprit is hard to figure out, this would not be the book for you, but if you are looking for a light mystery with some fun characters and a rather quaint setting, check this one out. The publisher provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.