Author: Amanda Flower
Publisher: Five Star
Copyright Date: 2010
Print Date: June 2010
Series: 1st in the India Hayes Mystery series
Book Description (from dust jacket):
India Hayes is a lot of things . . . starving artist who pays the rent as a college librarian, daughter of liberal activists, sister of an emotional mathematician, tenant of a landlady who has kissed the Blarney Stone one too many times, and a bridesmaid six times over. But she's about to step into the most challenging role of her life: amateur sleuth.
A childhood friend and now a knockout beauty, Olivia Blocken is back in town to wed her bodybuilder fiancé with India a reluctant attendant . . . not just because the bridesmaid's dress is a hideous mess, but because she's betraying her brother. Mark still carries a torch for the bride who once broke his heart and sent his life into a tailspin.
When Olivia turns up dead in the Martin College fountain and the evidence points to Mark, India must unmask the real culprit while juggling a furious and grieving Mother of the Bride, an annoyingly beautiful Maid of Honor, a set of hippie-generation parents, the police detective who once dated her sister and is showing a marked liking for her, and a provost itching to fire someone, anyone — maybe even a smart-mouthed librarian.
India's investigation leads her on a journey through childhood memories that she'd much rather have left in the schoolyard, but to avoid becoming the next victim, it is a path she must follow.
This was an interesting first in series. I enjoy reading cozies (or just books in general, really) with librarians as the protagonists. On top of that India's a likeable character — though she does have a strange family that takes some getting used to, and her brother's a bit whiny.
I was a little confused about India's relationship with the bride. The bride didn't seem very likeable as an adult, but India seemed to be stuck on how she had been as a child. She even seemed to realize that things had changed, but it didn't stop her from, say, defending her childhood friend. But I suppose memories can be distracting from reality. India is human after all (well, she's actually ink on a page, but you know what I mean).
The ending wasn't as satisfying as I'd hoped. After the murder is solved, everything ends in a whirl. The story doesn't really follow up with some characters. Overall, though, I enjoyed the book and look forward to reading more of the series. And maybe I'll get some of the missing wrap-up in the next story...