NO SMALL MURDER by Lena Gregory
SERIES: Mini-Meadows Mystery #1
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER: Level Best Books
RELEASE DATE: February 21, 2023
Mini Meadows, a Tiny Home community in rural Central Florida, is home to Emma Wells, a downsize specialist who left her daddy’s mansion and her inheritance behind in favor of a simpler, more peaceful life in a tiny home that was once two shipping containers. But when she opens a shipping container and discovers her dead client sitting in a rocking chair, neatly wrapped and labeled, and two of her friends end up on the suspect list, Emma pitches in to help find the killer.
With plenty of clues to unpack, Emma narrows down the suspect list, but as she begins to close in on the culprit, she realizes if she’s not careful she could end up in a box of her own.
What a fun concept for a new cozy mystery series! Emma Wells is a downsize specialist and (not coincidentally) a tiny-home resident. While I don’t think my husband and I could survive in that tiny of a house (all the books alone would need their own tiny house haha!), I’m fascinated by the concept and equally intrigued by what Emma does for a living.
Lena Gregory is so talented at setting up a new series in the first book without making it feel that this is what she’s doing, i.e. she doesn’t bog down the reader in superfluous background information disguised as narrative or dialogue. Instead, she introduces the characters and setting as a natural part of the story, drawing you in right away and holding your attention all the way through. She does the same in No Small Murder. I loved Emma, her cat Ginger, her two friends Jade & Chloe and the Mini Meadows community of supporting characters. Not to mention the hilarity added by the unexpected arrival of Emma’s saucy grandmother and the larger-than-life canine addition to Emma’s increasingly-crowded tiny home.
The mystery is solidly done, layered with many plausible suspects and some unexpected twists that kept me guessing. It’s also perhaps the most unique placement of a body I’ve read in recent memory across my cozy mystery & suspense repertoire. The murder victim certainly was not well-liked so it’s not difficult to imagine someone wanting to kill him, but the fact that several of Emma’s friends & acquaintances had run-ins with the victim made it imperative for this crime to be solved – and fast! The interactions between Emma and the detective made me smile, and I’m interested in seeing what will transpire between them in future books.
Bottom Line: I always love Lena Gregory’s cozy mysteries & No Small Murder checked all the right boxes for me. Emma is a winsome protagonist who lives in a charming community and has an intriguing career and an equally intriguing home. Her friends, her Granny Rose, her pets, and the people of Mini Meadows (residents & shop owners) are all compelling, and I was a little disappointed when the book ended, only because I wasn’t quite ready to stop spending time with them. This, of course, makes me eager for the next book. The mystery was well plotted and nicely layered, and I enjoyed the romance possibilities that may play out in future books for more than one character.
(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 / loved it!
Lena Gregory grew up in a small town on the south shore of eastern Long Island, but she recently traded in cold, damp, gray winters for the warmth and sunshine of Central Florida, where she now lives with her husband, three kids, son-in-law, and four dogs. Her hobbies include spending time with family, reading, and walking. Her love for writing developed when her youngest son was born and didn’t sleep through the night. She works full-time as a writer and a freelance editor and is a member of Sisters in Crime.
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