Thursday, April 14, 2022

Mining for Murder (A Happy Camper Mystery #3)

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Mining for Murder is the third Happy Camper cozy mystery by Mary Angela. Released 5th April 2022 by Kensington, it's 207 pages and is available in paperback and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats, it makes it so easy to find info with the search function if needed.

This is a small town shopfront cozy set in South Dakota. The protagonist is an intelligent young woman with a largely unknown past (she was surrendered as an infant to the authorities). The murder mystery revolves around the gold-rush history of the town and surrounding Black Hills and a rare antique book with local history which comes up at auction. There's a fair bit of fascinating real history interwoven into the fictional narrative and it lifts the story a lot. It is apparent that the author has done a good job of background research. 

As a small town cozy, it's full of the sort of quirky eccentric secondary characters who are a bit two dimensional and who seem to exist to move the plot along and provide light comic relief. The pool of suspects is small, and although the denouement and resolution are fairly easy to guess beforehand, they're well written and satisfying. It works well enough as a standalone with the understanding that this book contains some major spoilers for earlier books in the series regarding the growth and family history of Zo, the protagonist. The language is clean, and there's no graphic violence. This would be a good choice for lovers of light cozies, the kind with whimsically eccentric characters, a town diner, and rural countryside. There's even a cake recipe mentioned in the plot at the end of the book

I found the plotting and development slow and the secondary characters mostly stage scenery. That being said, however, the author is adept at writing and much of the descriptive prose is well done and engaging.

Four stars. This will appeal to cozy readers. 

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

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