Saturday, April 16, 2016

Moss Hysteria

Author:  Kate Collins
Series:  Flower Shop Mystery #18
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Publisher:  Berkley/Obsidian Mystery
Published:  April 2016

Description:  Flower shop owner Abby Knight and her husband, Marco, are ecstatic to finally be moving into their new home, despite the prospect of unpacking a seemingly infinite number of boxes. After all, Brandywine—their new subdivision—seems like an oasis with its welcoming neighbors and beautifully manicured lawns. 

But their idyllic community is suddenly uprooted when a body is found floating in a nearby pond. The police think Abby and Marco’s helpful next door neighbor is the culprit, but the newlyweds aren’t convinced. 

Meanwhile, Marco distrusts his mother’s slick new boyfriend, and Abby’s cousin Jillian has agreed to decorate their new home, resulting in comic chaos. Even worse, as Abby and Marco dig through Brandywine’s secrets in search of a killer, they discover that some flowers come from very bad seeds...and danger stalks even the sunniest small-town streets.

My Review

This is one of my all time favorite series, so when ever a new book is released it is on my automatic buy list.  I have loved every book in the series, and Kate Collins did not disappoint with this installment to the series.  With 18 books in the series, one might think that it would be hard to keep this series fresh and the readers coming back for more, but this author has such a wonderful writing talent that the reader is engaged from the very beginning and left wanting more from these characters when the story ends.

Marco and Abby Salvare are wonderful characters.  We have had the chance to watch them grow as individuals, then as partners in business and life and finally as a married couple. The characters in this series just jump off the page and pull you in until whatever mystery they run across is solved.  Kate Collins does a wonderful job of keeping these characters fresh and they begin to feel like old friends.  Each new mystery is a chance to stop by and catch up in the lives of character who feel like people you have come to know.  In this story, I like how we are seeing Francesca, Marco's mother, grow and her life take a new path.  I also enjoyed how the relationship between Abby and Rosa is written in this story.

The mystery, as with all the books in the series, is strong.  Kate Collins does a fabulous job of providing the reader with multiple suspects, each with a very plausible and believable motive for being the killer.  On top of that she weaves plenty of twists, turns, red-herrings and misdirection throughout the story until a very climatic conclusion.  You know that Abby, with her sometime impatient and impulsive personality will put herself right in the middle of this mystery in a way that will put her jeopardy.  As always, Marco's cooler head and investigative background centers Abby and is there to save her in her time of need.  I also thought the tone of this story was a bit different because, while still secondary characters, we did not see as much of Abby's family as we have in prior stories.  

I just love this series and I look forward to each new book release.  These characters are wonderful and have become familiar friends.  The plot is well written, which is what we have come to expect from this author, and mystery will keep the reader engaged and guessing until the very end.  If you haven't had a chance to read one of these stories, I would suggest that you start at the beginning of the series and try one today.  You will not be disappointed.

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