Author: Sharon Farrow
Series: A Berry Basket Mystery #2
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publication Date: October 31, 2017
Description: As owner of The Berry Basket, Marlee Jacob has learned a thing or two about surviving the summer tourist season in Oriole Point. So she gladly agrees to help run the annual road rally in honor of the local Blackberry Art School’s centenary celebration. While alumni arrive from around the country, Marlee hopes the expansive Sanderling farm will make an appropriate starting point for the race—despite rumors that the land is cursed . . .
But when Marlee surveys the property, she stumbles upon a long-dead body hidden in the bramble. It’s a horrifying mystery to everyone except her baker, who’s convinced the skeletal remains belong to a former student who had gone missing twenty years earlier. As the Fourth of July activities heat up, Marlee must rush to catch an elusive murderer—before the next ‘blackberry victim’ is ripe for the picking!
I thought this second book in the Berry Basket Mystery series was a terrific read. It was fun, fast paced, and an easy read. It kept me entertained and engaged the entire book. One of the reasons I've enjoyed both books in this series is the location. The series is set in the fictional town of Oriole Point in my home state. I always find it fun to read books set in my home state as I can easily picture the setting while reading. This book was no exception. As Ms. Farrow describe summer on Lake Michigan with the berry farms and the Fourth of July in full swing, it was easy to picture the entire scene which always keeps me engaged in a book.
Once again, Marlee is involved in a murder. This time, along with Piper's dog Charlemagne, she is the unfortunate one to discover the skeleton of a former art student in town. I really enjoy Marlee's character. She is fun, outgoing, caring, independent, and smart. I like that she tries to keep the police involved with anything she discovers along the way. I also enjoyed the secondary cast of characters. The Cabot brothers are fun and provide some humor along the way. I like how Marlee's relationship with Theo, her baker, progresses in this book. Tess makes an appearance along with Piper, Ryan and some newcomers. I think one of the newcomers may play a part in whether Marlee eventually marries Ryan like they have planned.
I thought the mystery was really well done. Because this is a cold case there is not a lot of evidence to rely upon. In fact, before the body was discovered, everyone thought this art student had drowned the summer she attended the Blackberry Arts School. The author did a wonderful job at providing the readers with plenty of suspects. Personally, I didn't care for any of the core group of suspects which made it harder for me to determine who I thought was the killer. The author strings her readers along with suspicion, lies, betrayal and plenty of clues scatter along the way. Marlee does eventually put together how the student was killed which results in a very climatic ending.
I thought this was a wonderfully entertaining read that is set in a charming lakeshore resort town with likable characters and a well plotted mystery. This book is sure to keep you turning pages to find out how the mystery is solved. There are also some wonderful sounding recipes included at the end of the book.
I voluntarily read an advanced reader copy provided to me by the publisher, Kensington, through Netgalley.