HEMS & HOMICIDE
SERIES: Apron Shop #1
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
RELEASE DATE: December 31, 2019
Welcome to the first in the Apron Shop mystery series by Elizabeth Penney, set in the quaint village of Blueberry Cove, Maine where an expert seamstress turned amateur sleuth is getting measured for murder. . .
Iris Buckley is sew ready for a change. After the death of her beloved grandfather, Iris decides to stay in her Maine hometown to help out her widowed grandmother, Anne—and bring her online hand-made apron designs to real-time retail life. Her and Anne’s shop, Ruffles & Bows, is set to include all the latest and vintage linen fashions, a studio for sewing groups and classes, and a friendly orange cat. The only thing that they were not planning to have on the property? A skeleton in the basement
Anne recognizes the remains of an old friend, and when a second body shows up in the apron shop—this time their corrupt landlord, whom Anne had been feuding with for decades—she becomes a prime suspect. Now, it’s up to Iris to help clear her name. Enlisting the help of her old high-school crush Ian Stewart who, like certain fabrics, has only gotten better-looking with age and her plucky BFF Madison Morris, Iris must piece together an investigation to find out who the real killer is. . .and find a way to keep her brand-new business from being scrapped in the process.
It always makes me happy when I discover a new cozy mystery series/author that I love from the beginning! Hems & Homicide, book 1 of Elizabeth Penney’s new Apron Shop series, is one such example.
For starters, the concept is so unique – Iris & Anne’s apron shop is exactly the type of vintage-y, etsy-ish shop I would buy from… despite the fact that I have never owned or worn an apron as a general rule lol! The initial murder Iris stumbles upon (quite literally) is decades old and has a personal connection to Iris’s grandparents, which adds multiple layers to the plot. Combined with the current murder – which also has a personal connection – there are plenty of twists, turns, and red herrings to keep you guessing.
Blueberry Cove is the typical cozy mystery town, and the author does a great job of introducing us to the town & its people … without seeming like we’re following her around with a map. It’s populated by an intriguing cast of quirky characters and a swoony handyman-type love interest (though the blossoming romance with Ian is kept to a mild level & doesn’t take over the story), and I especially fell in love with Iris, her friends, her cat Quincy and her grandmother Anne. And of course Ian.
Bottom Line: Well-written, charming, and layered, Hems & Homicide is the perfect start to this new cozy mystery series! The coastal New England small town setting is delightfully drawn, its characters drawing you in and ensuring you’ll be eagerly waiting for the next book so you can catch up with everyone. The murders that Iris stumbles into & her subsequent amateur sleuthing are well-plotted and keep you engaged from beginning to end. Can’t wait for Thread and Dead to release in August!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / love it!
Elizabeth Penney is an author, entrepreneur, and local food advocate living in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. In addition to writing full-time, she operates a small farm. Elements that often appear in her novels include vintage summer cottages, past/present mysteries, and the arts. She is represented by the fabulous Elizabeth Bewley at Sterling Lord Literistic.
Elizabeth’s writing credits include over twenty mysteries, short stories, and hundreds of business articles. A former consultant and nonprofit executive, she holds a BS and an MBA. She’s also written screenplays with her musician husband.
She loves walking in the woods, kayaking on quiet ponds, trying new recipes, and feeding family and friends.
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