Reviewer: Robyn Roberts
Title: Cozy in Kansas (3 stories in one book)
Author: Nancy Mehl
Re-Release Date: December 2008
Genre/Sub-genre: Inspirational Cozy Mystery
Year/Setting: Present day, Winter Break Kansas
Overall Rating: 4.5
Sexual Content Rating: None
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None
Violent Content Rating: Minimal
Nancy's Website/Blog: www.nancymehlbooks.com
In the Dead of Winter
In this first book, Ivy Towers returns to Winter Break when her great-aunt Bitty passes away. She is shocked to discover Aunt Bitty left her bookstore to Ivy. Determined to leave this part of the past in the past, she plans to sell out the store and leave Winter Break for good. As she’s making decisions, more and more questions come up. She really thinks foul play was involved in Bitty’s death. Will digging into a possible murder in a small town get Ivy killed, too?
Bye Bye Bertie
Ivy discovers an old treasure map and finds more treasure than she ever bargained for. Having heard of buried gold in Winter Break, she is determined to find this treasure. She unearths a lunch box full of treasures and opens up a 30 year old disappearance of Bert Bird. In trying to find Bert, it’s discovered that a body was buried there, too. As Ivy’s boyfriend (and the sheriff) Amos helps her out, they find that there’s more than meets the eye. With Amos in hot water over Ivy’s antics, things get a little stilted between them. Will their budding romance survive? Will they ever solve the mystery of Bert Bird’s disappearance?
For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls
Ivy is up to her eyeballs in running the bookstore and trying to plan a wedding at the same time. When new resident, Delaphine (Dela) Shackleford offers to be the wedding planner, it might not be ideal, but it is a workable situation. But when Dela turns up dead and Ivy is the number one suspect, we are left wondering if Ivy & Amos will ever get to tie the knot. Did the amateur sleuth commit a murder thinking she could get away with it? Will Amos continue to stand by his woman?
This anthology of Ivy Towers books moves us through her life. In the beginning, she’s a shy and uncertain young girl who is trying to finish college and wants nothing to do with the town her aunt called home. We see snippets of her childhood throughout all three books and as she moves into the role her Aunt Bitty held in Winter Break, she matures and blossoms. She starts to come into her own and discovers her self-confidence and self-worth. By the final story, she is planning to marry the man she loves and all of her dreams are coming true…if they can find who murdered her wedding planner. That’s a small (or giant) wrinkle in the plans.
I found the Ivy Towers stories to give an accurate view of small town midwestern life. I loved the secondary characters and they remind me of specific people in the town I spent my summers in as a child. I could relate with the gossip mill and the café and church being the central hub of everything. The best thing about these mysteries are the recipes at the end of each one. I made the Stuffed Berry French Toast for a moms group and they loved it. Yum! I can’t wait to try out the burger recipe, too.
The mysteries were well written and kept me guessing until the end. I was glad Nancy Mehl didn’t throw in red herrings. She wrote well enough to keep the suspense and mystery going until she chose to reveal it. The clues were there along the way. Some I caught, some I missed. I was impressed at how well Ms. Mehl put each of these stories together. All three books would stand alone, but I enjoyed having them under one cover to read all at once. Ms. Mehl has spun three tales that flow together beautifully.
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