by Leslie Nagel
Published September 27th 2016 by Alibi
Synopsis: In a charming cozy mystery series debut, Leslie Nagel’s irrepressible small-town heroine finds that her fellow mystery book club members may be taking their Agatha Christie a bit too literally—and murder a bit too lightly.
Charley Carpenter has poured heart and soul into her clothing store, Old Hat Vintage Fashions. She’ll do anything to make it a success—even join the stuffy Agathas Book Club in order to cultivate customers among Oakwood, Ohio’s wealthy elite.
Although mixing with the most influential women in town has its advantages, Charley finds the endless gossip a high price to pay. But after two women with close ties to the Agathas are brutally murdered, everyone falls under threat—and suspicion. When key evidence indicates that both murders are the work of the same hand, Charley realizes that the killer has arranged each corpse in perfect imitation of crime scenes from the Club’s murder mystery reading list. She uses her membership in the Club to convince Detective Marcus Trenault to use her as an inside informant. Not that he could stop her anyway.
Intelligent, fearless, and every bit as stubborn as Marc is, Charley soon learns the Agathas aren’t the only ones with secrets to protect. Passions explode as she and Marc must race against time to prevent another murder. And if Charley’s not careful, she may find herself becoming the killer’s next plot twist.
My Review: This is the first book in the Oakwood Mystery Series. It is a cozy with a bit of a twist. There is some swearing and a little sex, but it is not graphic. There are several murders, there is a serial killer, which is a little uncommon in a cozy, but again, not graphic so if still fits.
Charley Carpenter owns the Old Hat Vintage Fashions store. She dropped out of school and returned home to the small town of Oakwood Ohio after her father suffered a stroke. Trying to make a go of her business during the recession, she joins the Agathas Book Club whose members are the rich and snobbish. She hopes to cultivate these ladies and their friends to become her customers. Detective Marcus Trenault and Charley have some history. She crushed on him from afar in highschool. He is also the son of her and her father’s friend Evie who died recently. Marc and his mother were somewhat estranged and Charley had trouble forgiving him for that. As well he is arrogant and pig-headed, so whenever they meet up, they end up in an argument. When the sister of one of the Agathas is murdered, Charlie begins to investigate. When another young woman also ends up dead, Charley realizes that there is a connection to the Agathas. Charley has the inside scoop about the other members and Marc is going to have to bite his tongue and use her as an informant. As they continue to investigate with Charley part of the team, her life may in danger.
This was an enjoyable read. Charley is stubborn and opinionated, and not afraid to say so. Marc is arrogant in his own right. This is where the romance comes in. All of the suspects, the Agathas, are rich, snobbish, and some are quite bitchy. Charley describes them perfectly throughout the story. As their secrets unfold we see their lives, and realize that having money does not solve all problems, in fact, it causes many. I did not figure out who dun it which always makes a mystery more enjoyable to me. The mention of several mystery books in the story also added more books to my TBR list. A great read. I am looking forward to the next one in the series. 4.5 stars for me.