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by Connie Archer
Berkely, April 2013
304 pages
ISBN: 0425252086

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Second in a series of cosy mysteries, BROTH OF BETRAYAL begins with tiny Snowflake, Vermont's turmoil over the construction of a largely unwanted carwash in the center of its picturesque historic district. The discovery of an ancient set of bones on the construction site temporarily stops all work, but it is the rapid occurrence of two murders right afterwards and the disappearance of protagonist Lucky Jamieson's dear friend, Mayor Elizabeth Dove, that make it impossible for Lucky to even consider remaining uninvolved. She joins forces with the police chief Nate, her friend Sophie, her lover Dr. Elias Scott, and her grandfather Jack to unravel the mysteries and to discover the connections among them.

The recurring main characters are charming and generally intelligent and the setting is very well chosen. The background characters present a grand range of locals from quirky to reserved, from annoying to desperate, and from pious to wicked a stewpot of personalities that has to be dealt with because this is a very small village and this is what there is. There is a lot to be said for the kinds of patience and gentleness displayed by some of the characters toward the less attractive ones and this quality grounds the novel in a kind of reality that many cosies can't achieve.

If there are flaws, they lie in the plotting. At one point a character quite brightly finds access to water after being imprisoned only much later to be frightened about dying of thirst. And the imprisonment of that character is problematic it is never clear why it happens or who might benefit from it. However, this is a cosy mystery and is meant far more for pleasure than for examination and pleasure abounds in Lucky's growing love relationship and in the growth of appreciation we see in a number of characters in who they are and where they find themselves in life.

Finally, the cook at Lucky's restaurant, By the Spoonful, is an explorer and experimenter in the world of homemade soups and some of the concoctions he creates are both intriguing and delicious sounding. Recipes are provided AND a peek at the third in the series, A ROUX OF REVENGE.

Diana Borse is retired from teaching English at Texas A&M University-Kingsville and savoring the chance to read as much as she always wanted to.

Reviewed by Diana Borse, June 2013

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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