Sunday, March 24, 2013

Book Review - A Fete Worse Than Death

A Fete Worse Than Death: A Hemlock Falls Mystery

By: Claudia Bishop
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: March 2013
ISBN: 978-0425262795
Reviewed by: Deb Fowler
Review Date: March 25, 2013

Sarah “Quill” Quilliam-McHale was a girl who `caint say no. The Hemlock Falls annual Fingerlakes Autumn Fete was coming up and she was on every committee from the Furry Friends committee, the arts committee, to the one to “keep the Craft guild ladies from whacking each other to pieces” committee. Quill was sitting in on a meeting of the advisory committee when all heck broke loose. Brady Beale, who wanted a piece of the pie, made a motion to move the fete from Hemlock Falls to Summersville. Wrong. Of course Rev. Dookie Shuttleworth would clam up, but the motion was soundly defeated when Mayor Elmer Henry took a vote. His wife, Adela, had coordinated the festival for thirty years and no way would that idiotic suggestion pass.

Quill had been an innkeeper at the Inn at Hemlock Falls for fifteen years along with her sister, Meg, who was the chef. “So everyone went home mad,” Quill explained to her friend, Madge, but that wouldn’t be the end of it. From pickles to pies, there would be petty bickering, but those thirty thousand people showing up for the fete couldn’t have imagined what was going on behind the scenes. Carol Ann Spinoza, making good use of her “inner Idi Amin,” began finger pointing at Adela Henry. The cat fight was on and the next thing you know, Adela quit. Carol Ann may have just as well been holding up a sign that said: “Embezzler.” What next?

Hemlock Falls had to find an event coordinator, that’s what, and Adela went missing. Sheriff Davy Kiddermeister had to find her because this “fete-fraud” called for an investigation. “It’s what they say about nightmares,” Elmer exclaimed, “I’m in one.” Althea did the scouting and soon Linda Connelly, a professional event coordinator from Presentations, was on the job. It seemed like everyone in Hemlock Falls was acting as crazy as Jeeter Swenson, Quinn’s new long-term resident at the Inn, who claimed he’d seen the Seneca Lake Monster. Davy Kiddermeister had seen something just as scary as that monster when he opened up the trunk of a car at Peterson Automotive. It was Ms. Connelly and Bismarck, a cat. “Shot in the back of the head,” Quill told her husband, Myles. She swore she’d never become involved with another murder investigation, but was this one too intriguing to resist?

Hemlock Falls is in an uproar when murder and mayhem threaten to put an end to the festivities. The town turmoil was very realistic and not unlike that of any small town, especially when not-so-kind words begin to fly. However, eventually this mystery goes far beyond the usual discovery of a body as all is not quite as simple as it seems. There are people who aren’t who they claim to be and eventually, beneath the surface of it all, this cozy mystery is far from cozy. Hints of money in the Cayman Islands, another murder, the appearance of the FBI, and even hints of long-ago Russian involvement add to the intrigue. Hemlock Falls is murder magnet, but Quill, who has a lot of corpses “under her belt,” will solve them all!

Quill says: If you want to take a step beyond the small town cozy mystery, Meg and Sarah will definitely show you around and give you the tour of a lifetime!

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