Nicole Fitzhenry-Dawes is always trying to catch up with her family of overachievers. However, when her uncle dies, she’s the only one who was willing to come over to Michigan and settle his affairs. However, when she was informed that she was bequeathed his sugar bush, she has the choice to leave her life as a lawyer behind and become a Maple syrup farmer. When some questions about her uncle’s death pop up, she decides to stick around for a little while.
The mystery as very interesting, and not really something that I’ve seen before. This was the first book that I’ve read from James, and I will say that she has a very good writing style. She uses the style to make you want to look where she wants you to look. I did have a guess to the murderer was, however, it was later on in the book. I really enjoyed the way that the mystery flowed and the information was provided.
This book has a lot of character introductions as well as town building. We get to a really good understanding of the murder victims as well as all of the characters in this book. The only thing that I don’t understand is that Nikki is so blind to the obvious clue that as mentioned at the beginning of the book. I’m sure it was put in the book on purpose, but I think it was more annoying than anything else. We have to watch Nikki make everything more complicated because she doesn’t know Mark’s “secret”. Hopefully, it is resolved later in the season.
Caught in a snowstorm on her back into Fair Haven, Nikki ends up hitting a person. By the next morning, they realized that she wasn’t what caused for the victim’s death. She is quickly working with the police to try and figure out who would want to kill such a nice man. She also has to figure out what else is going in with the shelter, because things are just not adding up.
The mystery was very interesting and had some subtle nuances throughout the book. The mystery was fairly straightforward, however, it does deal with a storyline that is not normal in the cozy mystery genre. When dealing with a mystery in an animal shelter, the natural jump is to dog fights. This was the case in this book, however, it was handled perfectly and gave information about laws that would surround that issue.
They still haven’t revealed Mark’s “secret” in this book and this is getting really really annoying. I know, I know, it’s only the second books but it’s obvious that they are going to get together in the later books. Thankfully they already removed the love triangle that is normal in these books. I did enjoy the growth in the relationship between Nikki and Erik in this book. They have started becoming really good friends. I just really want the relationship between Nikki and Mark to just be ironed out.
Nikki is finally in the full swing of things at the farm. However, when one of her employees has an accident, Nikki is pretty sure that something else is going on. Though she can’t convince the police to investigate, she takes matters into her own hands. However, the more that she digs into the case, the more she thinks something is going on past a simple attack.
The mystery was really interesting, however, it felt like it was more running around trying to get the police to take on the case. I understand what was going on at the police station, however, it was a little much. There were obvious clues really early on to who the attacker is. Though James does try and focus our attention on another character throughout the book.
There was a nice throwback, however, it was only to the previous books. We ended up working with a character from the previous book, however, we didn’t really get to find out much about their past. The mystery did get Mark and Nikki closer and eventually together. Thankfully is open secret has been revealed to Nikki. I am so happy that it was taken care of, I think that was the most annoying thing in the book. We do get to find out more about Mark’s past as well as Nikki. We also now know why she had such a negative reaction when she saw Mark’s wedding ring.
Finally, this is a book that I really enjoyed.
I really enjoyed the book and I’m glad I picked up this book series.