Murder of a Small-Town Honey by Denise Swanson

(Scumble River Mystery, #1)

When school psychologist Skye Denison left Scumble River after high school, she swore she would never return to such a small minded town. But when credit card and boyfriend trouble caused her to slink home, she tries to blend in unnoticed. However inconspicuous has never been one of Skyes attributes, as the small-town busybodies try to bring her out in the public eye whenever they can. When she stumbles upon a dead TV personality, the police accuse her brother and she is forced to prove him innocent. This proves to be a daunting task, but Skye is up to the task. She is bright, persistent, gutsy and the perfect amateur sleuth.

It must be the month for new mysteries with me. In this case, Skye is a delightful change as an average person down on her luck, surrounded by bitchy family on one end, supportive parents and friends on the other. Her brother is even farther down on his luck, about to lose his shop because of lack of income, yet unable to ask his parents for assistance because of their firm beliefs he shouldn't have become a hairdresser.

Skye's mother works at the local police department as the receptionist, and while a good mother who offers a leaning shoulder whenever needed, she's sure to offer criticism whenever she gets the chance. The characters work well together to push forward a plot that, while interesting, isn't the richest out there.

Simon as the caretaker and the potential romantic interest was a good guy and fun addition, but I was more intrigued by the married police chief Wally, who Skye thought herself in love with years before. Seeing her interact with a town she dissed in her graduation speech was interesting, as no one seems to forget the dismal words. Adjusting to the small school with a nervous and odd principal, she's forced to make do with an old Janitor's closet; sounds like fun eh?

Despite the interesting array of characters, the plot isn't a deep mystery and is almost a series of events that just falls into its own conclusion. Skye never did much amateur sleuthing as far as I could tell, with luck on her side. Also, while I did enjoy the people, sometimes they felt a little overdone to the point of putting in too much forced comedy. There were some cute and amusing moments, but this isn't really a laugh out loud sort of book, more of a cozy (which is always good). The small atmosphere fits the story - and the series - perfectly. Some of the dialogue seems a bit stifled and forced, not completely genuine, but overall this book was a fun way to pass the time and the pace kept my attention to a maximum.

Overall a fun and light read without enough substance to stand out too much. I really dug Skye as a heroine and look forward to reading about the characters again.

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