PEACHES AND SCHEMES
SERIES: A Georgia B&B Mystery #3
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER: Crooked Lane Books
RELEASE DATE: May 11, 2021
In Anna Gerard’s third delightful Georgia B&B mystery, Nina Fleet learns that despite the satin, lace, and buttercream trappings, weddings often prove to be anything but sweet…
Nina Fleet might be new to the innkeeping business, but she’s savvy enough to know that Cymbeline’s tourists aren’t enough to keep her fledgling bed and breakfast going. And so, Nina decides to tap into the destination wedding market by taking a booth at the Veils and Vanities Bridal Expo. The twice-yearly event is sponsored by the town’s two wedding pros: Virgie Hamilton, the sixtysomething owner of Virgie’s Formals, and Roxanna Quarry, a Gen X event planner and Nina’s new friend. But everything goes wrong during the expo’s fashion show, when Roxanna comes tumbling out of an oversized prop wedding cake, strangled to death by her own scarf.
Virgie is arrested for the crime, thanks to Nina’s statement to the police about having overheard the woman accusing her partner of embezzlement. Meanwhile, the situation grows tense with her sometimes nemesis and current tenant, the dashing out-of-work actor Harry Westcott. Harry is concentrating on plugging his most recent side hustle …but he’s not too busy to break the news to Nina that her ex-husband is engaged to be married again.
Certain that Virgie’s only offense is a bad temper, Nina decides to do her own investigating. First, however, she and Harry retrieve Roxanna’s now ownerless dog, planning to foster him until a new home can be found. But local gossip soon convinces Nina that others beside Virgie might have had reason to murder Roxanna. As Nina gets close to the truth, she’s putting her own life at danger. And when Virgie vanishes after being bailed out of jail by an unknown benefactor, Nina fears that if she can’t find the dress shop owner in time, tying the knot will take on a whole new meaning for them both.
Other Books In This Series
The Georgia B&B cozy mystery series by Anna Gerard is one of my recent faves to follow. The author always grabs me in the first few lines, and I stay firmly engaged in how Nina is going to figure everything out and stay safe at the same time. Peaches and Schemes did exactly that once again.
One of my favorite things about this series is Nina’s slightly snarky (at times) and conversational narrative voice that carries each book. It feels like you’re sitting down with her in the B&B parlor to catch up on all that’s happened. In between loving on Nina’s sweet dog Mattie & hoping for a glimpse of Harry – Nina’s sometimes tenant, prior nemesis, recent good friend, and maybe something more. Harry is a fascinating character, all on his own, and his acting background & out-of-work financial woes lead to all sorts of creative jobs he tries to use his skills & make ends meet. Not to mention this delicious chemistry and fond affection between him and Nina – something that took a twist or two I hadn’t anticipated in Peaches and Schemes. Makes me look forward even more to future books!
The murder of one of her friends once again puts Nina (pronounced NINE-ah, thank you very much) smack dab in the middle of the investigation – especially as she was a secret witness to an argument between the victim and another woman just before the murder. Not only that, but volunteering to foster Roxanna’s goldendoodle until other arrangements can be made takes the case down a few roads Nina & Harry weren’t expecting. The plot is well-layered and smartly written, and I really didn’t have a solid guess on whodunit until just before all was revealed. All of the above makes for a delightful cozy mystery reading experience, as you might imagine.
Bottom Line: I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each book in the Georgia B&B mystery series, and Peaches and Schemes is no exception! Nina is a delightful & relatable heroine, and readers will love tagging along as she solves a friend’s murder in this installment. In addition to the wonderful characters in Peaches and Schemes, the author delivers a charming setting and a dash of potential romance. Not to mention the intriguing plot that kept me guessing!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / loved it!
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DIANE A.S. STUCKART began her writing career in the 1990s as the critically acclaimed author of historical romance under the names Alexa Smart and Anna Gerard. She later switched to the mystery genre and is the NYT bestselling author of the Black Cat Bookshop Mysteries (written as Ali Brandon) and the award-winning Leonardo da Vinci historical mysteries. Her Tarot Cats Mystery series launched in 2018 with FOOL’S MOON. Her Georgia B&B Mystery series (also written as Anna Gerard) debuted in 2019 with PEACH CLOBBERED. Kirkus Reviews describes that book as “Filled with Southern charm and enough ditzy characters to keep readers guessing and laughing.” Book 3 in that series, PEACHES AND SCHEMES—her 17th published novel—will be on the shelves May 2021.
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