CHARLESTON CONUNDRUM by Stacy Wilder
SERIES: A Liz Adams Mystery #1
GENRE: Amateur Sleuth/Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER: Wild Hawk Press
RELEASE DATE: January 15, 2022
A Cozy Mystery With a Twist…
Liz Adams never imagined when she moved to Charleston with her truth sniffing Labrador retriever, Duke, that she would use her skills as a private investigator to avoid winding up on Death Row.
Liz’s life is upended when her best friend, Peg, is murdered and she becomes a suspect.Liz’s gun was the murder weapon. Tensions flare between Liz and the cops as she rises to the top of their suspect list.
At the request of Peg’s father, Liz agrees to take on the investigation. Riding a roller coaster of emotions, Liz uncovers many secrets Peg kept from her despite their being best friends. The suspects include a cast of characters: the ex-husband, the boyfriend, a coworker, several neighbors, and family members.
Charleston Conundrum takes the reader from Charleston, South Carolina, to Paris and back in the emotional unraveling of Peg’s life and death to a killer ending.
Bottom Line: Charleston Conundrum is a less-quirky-more-sophisticated cozy mystery with an endearing lie-detector Labrador (The dry humor of Duke’s well-timed yips made me chuckle) and his private investigator human. Liz is savvy and warm, even though crotchety Detective Sam would likely say otherwise, and the fact that most of the suspects are her friends & neighbors adds extra depth to the plot. Themes of mental illness, addiction, and homelessness also provide dimension beyond just the scope of the mystery. This is the first book in a new series, but in many ways it feels like we’re joining an already established group of characters whose other stories we’ll want to go back and read – a testament to the author’s ability to create layered personalities. While I do wish we had a series backlist to catch up on (because I bet the origin of Sam & Liz’s feud would amuse me), it served to draw me into this story from beginning to end.
(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 / enjoyed it!
Reviewer’s Note: Readers may want to be aware that there is a mild-to-moderate amount of cursing, including some that are of a stronger nature, and a couple uses of crude terms in this book. There is also discussion of ‘adult’ activity, though nothing descriptive happens on the page.
Stacy Wilder writes mysteries, children’s stories, short stories, and poetry. Her debut novel, Charleston Conundrum, is the first in the Conundrum mystery series.
Stacy’s mission is to deliver a delightful story to readers of all ages while benefiting a larger community. She donates a portion of the proceeds from the sales of her books to causes that support wildlife conservation, and the homeless, both people and pets. A portion of the proceeds from Charleston Conundrum are donated to National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
As well as writing, Stacy is passionate about her faith, family, Labradors, the causes that she supports, the beach, art, and reading books.
She and her husband live in Houston, Texas with a totally spoiled Labrador retriever, Eve.
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