Author: Stephanie Blackmoore
Series: A Wedding Planner Mystery #1
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Expected Publication Date: June 28, 2016
Description: After dumping her cheating fiancé and cancelling the wedding, Mallory Shepard can't bear another disaster. So when the former bride-to-be unexpectedly inherits Thistle Park, a ramshackle mansion in her ex's hometown of Port Quincy, it's a problem she can't afford--literally. Abound with stray cats, peeling wallpaper, and nosy neighbors, Mallory is dying to sell it off--once she finally fixes up both the place and her messy life. . .
Turns out, Thistle Park has its charms. But the honeymoon phase is abruptly cut short when an unwanted visitor is found dead on the front lawn. Enlisting the help of her sister Rachel, Mallory vows to unveil the killer before she herself becomes married to the suspect list.
I found this to be a very enjoyable first book in a new series by author Stephanie Blackmoore. This is the first I have read by this author and it appears to be her first foray into the cozy mystery genre. I think she is a delightful addition to the genre and will be on the lookout for more books in this series.
The story is well written and grabs the readers attention right from the beginning. Poor Mallory is finalizing her wedding plans and the reader gets a glimpse of her future mother in law. Let me say that I would have called off the wedding just so that I wouldn't have to be related to that woman. Helene Pierce is not a pleasant woman to say the least. However, due to her cheating fiance Mallory calls off the wedding, inherits a run down mansion and her life is thrown into chaos. The pace of this book is steady throughout the story. I liked our main character Mallory, as she tries to find the identity of a killer, wrangle cats and deal with whether to sell the crumbling mansion or chase her own dreams. Her partner in crime so to speak throughout the story is her sister Rachel. I very much enjoyed the relationship between the two sisters and how it play out in the story. There is a wonderful cast of secondary characters which may include a new romance down the line for Mallory. I felt the characters were well written for a first in a series. There were plenty of personalities and someone for everyone to relate to (or dislike as the case may be).
There were actually a couple of mysteries that tied in nicely at the end of the story. The main focus is on Mallory trying to find out the identity of the killer before something happens to her. Her sleuthing has to fit in between keeping her job at the law firm, wrangling cats and trying to ultimately decide what to do about the inherited mansion. The author has written a solid mystery weaving in plenty of clues, twists, turns and some misdirection to throw the reader off the track of the killer's identity. I thought she did a wonderful job of concluding the mystery with a very satisfying reveal of the killer's identity.
This is a well written first book with a cast of very likable characters and a mystery that will keep the reader on their toes. I am looking forward to returning to Port Quincy for Mallory's next adventure.
I received an ARC from Kensington through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my opinion of the story and the thoughts expressed are my own.