THE SIGN OF THE CALICO QUARTZ by Jan Drexler
SERIES: The Sweetbrier Inn Mysteries #1
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER: Swift Wings Press
RELEASE DATE: May 25, 2022
Emma Blackwood’s favorite pastime is solving literary murder mysteries…until the body in her living room makes everything a little too real.
When Emma comes to the Black Hills to work at her Aunt Rose’s B&B, the Sweetbrier Inn, she is hoping for a quiet break from the corporate treadmill. But she hadn’t expected murder and intrigue to mar this peaceful setting.
As she wades through too many clues to identify the murderer, she soon finds that the culprit isn’t stopping at only one homicide and may even have placed Emma herself on the list of targets. With the help of her friend Becky, and a deputy sheriff who grudgingly lets them join in on the investigation, Emma tracks down the killer. But will it be in time to save the next victim?
What a fun start to a new series!
I’m a fan of this author’s previous books … and I’m a fan of cozy mysteries …. so the combination of the two had me really eager to read The Sign of the Calico Quartz. I’m so glad she’s writing in this genre now, and I’m very pleased to report that I thoroughly enjoyed my first visit to the Sweetbrier Inn.
Emma is an immediately likable protagonist, and so is her aunt Rose who is the majority owner of the B&B in the Black Hills where Emma now finds herself. Worn out from the corporate rat race and nursing some still-smarting wounds from a past relationship, Emma hopes that staying with her aunt – and helping her out with the B&B over the summer – will give her the rest she needs. Of course, since this is a cozy mystery, we all know that things won’t work out as Emma planned. Good news for us, since we get an entertaining story out of it; bad news for poor Emma lol.
The book doesn’t waste much time introducing us to the main players in this mystery, nor does it take long for the first murder to occur. It also doesn’t get bogged down in superfluous details, and it doesn’t stop the story flow for a recipe or a crafting lesson. The pace is steady, and the clues & red herrings are dropped evenly throughout the book for us to sift through. I loved the layered characters – the ones that will likely be consistent throughout the series as well as the supporting players in this particular installment – and I also loved the easy flow of the narrative.
Drexler’s engaging writing voice helps readers feel as though they are immersed in the daily life at the Sweetbrier Inn – possibly taking in all the events from a room off that second floor lounge, hiking along with Thatcher’s daily walks, curiously pondering the mysterious undercurrent between Aunt Rose and her friends Clara & Montgomery – and, of course, sampling chef Wil & baker Becky’s delectable food. As Emma thoughtfully observes each guest whenever they’re all together, we can easily imagine ourselves standing next to her and doing our own casual surveillance. We can even turn that surveillance back on Emma as we smile from the front porch at the romantic tension between her & deputy sheriff Cal.
Bottom Line: The Sign of the Calico Quartz is an entertaining start to a new cozy mystery series! It’s a series that I hope will give us many more adventures with Emma, Aunt Rose, sheriff Cal, and the other great characters we meet in this first book. Not to mention Rose’s adorable corgi Thatcher and Emma’s cat Tim. The mystery was nicely plotted, and even though I figured out whodunnit I didn’t put all the pieces in place until the reveal. I loved (loved!) the brewing romance between Cal and Emma, and I’m definitely eager to see where that goes in future books. If you’re looking for a great mystery to cozy up with this weekend, grab a copy of The Sign of the Calico Quartz and enjoy!
(I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book which I read via Kindle Unlimited. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / loved it!
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Also available to read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited
Jan Drexler lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband, where she enjoys hiking and spending time with her expanding family. She is the author of several historical romance novels, including the award-winning Mattie’s Pledge, and is pleased to be starting a new adventure with a cozy mystery series, The Sweetbrier Inn Mysteries. You can find out more about Jan on her website: www.JanDrexler.com.
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