Despite being the 5th book in the series, it works perfectly well as a standalone. The backstory is provided without the reader feeling spoon-fed or overwhelmed. The plot moves along at a good clip and the characters are mostly believable and well rendered. The relationship between Jazzi and her husband Ansel is wholesome and heartwarming and a lot of fun to read. If some of the dialogue between Jazzy and her "suspects" is a bit stilted occasionally, it's not egregiously so, and certainly not in this type of amateur sleuth mystery cozy.
I love cozy mysteries but I've often joked with other fans of the genre that it's amazing that there are any people *left* in these small rural towns since they seem so enthusiastic about bumping one another off. ("It's fine, Aunt Jessica, just send a card, you don't have to travel all the way here for the graduation!!!"). So it was refreshing that this mystery didn't actually begin with Jazzi and co. tripping over a literal body. Old crimes cast long shadows, however, and it's not too long before Jazzi has a stable of suspects to winnow through, along with the ongoing house repairs and an occasional new crime to figure out.
The language is very clean and there's very little graphic violence and no sexual content.
Four stars. A fun undemanding fast paced house-flipper cozy.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
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