Title: Buzz Off
Author: Hannah Reed (Deb Baker)
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Copyright Date: 2010
Print Date: September 2010
Pages: 312 + recipes
Series: 1st in the Queen Bee Mystery series
Book Description (from the back cover):
When beekeeper Story Fischer is on the case, you can run — but you can't hive...
It's September — National Honey Month — in Moraine, Wisconsin, and things are looking up for Story Fischer. Her messy divorce is final, the honey from her beekeeping business has been harvested, and the Wild Clover, the market she owns, is thriving. Life seems pretty sweet... until Manny, her mentor in the honey business, is found stung to death in his apiary.
Story is still trying to explain to the panicked locals that her honeybees had nothing to do with Manny's death, when another body is found floating in the Oconomowoc River. This time the evidence points to Story's ex. Sure, he's a womanizer and a buzzkill — but a murderer? Desperate to save her bees and her business (and, okay, her ex), it's up to Story to find a way out of a very sticky situation.
I enjoyed reading this. It did have some parts I wasn't so sure about. Like the bullet point thing.
Main character and amateur sleuth Story Fischer loves speaking in bullet points. So much so that, as narrator of the story, she informs the reader of numerous little facts and miscellanea formatted as bullet points. This took some adjusting, but I got it. The problem is sometimes the miscellanea just don't fit. For instance, at one point she gives a list of facts about people who drive Harleys. I could care less. If I was interested, I'd read a cozy mystery with a Harley-theme.
Beyond that (and the getting drunk on the first page which I admit made me squirmy), Story was an interesting and likeable character. As were numerous other characters scattered throughout the story. Which reminds me of another small issue (maybe a bit spoilerish?)...
Okay, so Story's cousin/employee seems to be getting close to Story's high school-ex. He's worried about Story firing her for her drinking/erratic behavior, etc. And she can't guess that he might be sponsoring her in a program? Idk, maybe it's because alcoholism runs in my family, but duh. As soon as he butted in, I figured that was why.
Anyway, in addition to interesting characters, the story also had interesting background. Set in Wisconsin (a childhood vacation spot) and loaded with bee trivia... Plus I don't always like the small town feel in books, but it worked for this one. Story's business made perfect sense in the small town. The beekeeping business made sense... it just worked.
I also liked the story. I did guess the murderer early, but that's okay with me. Story's investigating was interesting to follow, and gave a deeper introduction to the characters, town and area.
I'm looking forward to reading Mind Your Own Beeswax.