Sunday, March 27, 2022

A Matter of Hive and Death (An Oregon Honeycomb Mystery #2)

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A Matter of Hive and Death is the second book in the Oregon Honeycomb small-town cozy mystery series by Nancy Coco. Due out 29th March 2021 from Kensington, it's 320 pages and will be available in paperback, audio, and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats.

This is the follow-up "small town" shop cozy mystery by a very well-loved veteran author. For fans of the genre, this one ticks all the boxes including a punny title, recipes included, clean language, not-terribly-gory murder, a likable female amateur sleuth, a foreshadowed slow-burn romantic interest, and a cat "sidekick" & adorable elderly aunt who help her solve the mystery. If it is, admittedly, trope-y and formulaic, it also has everything that fans of these series (including me) love. The pacing is good and doesn't drag. The dialogue can be a bit over the top and unnaturally stilted occasionally, but all in all, it's a fun and undemanding read with a satisfying denouement and resolution. I also found it a little odd that the recipes were scattered throughout between chapters instead of being gathered into an appendix at the back. It affected the continuity of reading for me more than I would have expected. (Not a huge deal, but noticeable). I tried the honey-blueberry muffins and the recipe works quite well as written and the addition of honey makes the muffins very moist (and even better the next day!).

Four stars. A strong follow-up to a promising cozy series with a likeable protagonist and the expected small-town eccentric characters and vibe. Real-life beekeepers might notice a questionable factoid or two in the story, but overall, I was impressed with the level of background research on beekeeping on the part of the author. I also really liked it that the main character's shop "Let it Bee" also incorporates a glass walled observation hive. Bees are fascinating and deserve all the good PR they can get.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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