Saturday, December 31, 2022

Buried in a Good Book - By the Book Mysteries #1

Buried in a Good Book is the first By the Book cozy mystery by Tamara Berry. Released 24th May 2022 by Poisoned Pen Press, it's 336 pages and is available in mass market 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 throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately.

The subgenre of cozies which features small-town eccentric characters, usually including a local handsome law officer, and female amateur sleuth runneth over. They're wildly popular and as such, many are, frankly formulaic and predictable. THIS series starter engaged and amused me from the start. There's real chuckle-out-loud humor (which is a lot more difficult than it appears), the dialogue timing, and action are well controlled and unpredictable. 

Protagonist Tess is a middle aged successful mystery writer who has inherited her grandfather's cabin in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. The summer retreat (even without running water and electricity) appeals, especially since her marriage has recently broken up with the additional trauma of her ex-husband's rift with their teenage daughter. The trip starts out with a unexpected literal bang when a local ne'er-do-well dynamites her pond causing a deluge of stunned fish and unintentional body parts. 

I love small-town mysteries and bookish mysteries and this one combines both. It's potentially a little too gritty (body parts!) to be called a proper cozy mystery, but it's not very graphic and I had no trouble with the descriptions. 

Four stars. Definitely worth a look for fans of bookish small-town cozies. There are currently two books out, with a third due out in second quarter, 2023, making it a good candidate for a weekend mini-binge read. 

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

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