PAINT ME A CRIME by Holly Yew
SERIES: A Rose Shore Mystery #1
GENRE: Cozy Mystery (Clean)
PUBLISHER: TouchPoint Press
RELEASE DATE: June 13, 2023
Art curator Jessamine Rhodes has left behind her gig at a prominent gallery in the city to open her own community art center in the small town of Rose Shore. She’s all set to host an extravagant opening watercolors class and has even booked a famous artist to teach it. Gabriella Everhart brings along her priceless painting Tranquil to showcase as the centerpiece of the event.
The opening class is just wrapping up when suddenly Tranquil disappears before Jessamine’s eyes. Next, the lights of the art center flicker out and leave the crowd in complete darkness as a scream pierces the air. To her horror, Jessamine’s flashlight reveals that prestigious art collector Victor Carlisle has been murdered, and now her dreams are as shattered as the champagne glass found near the scene.
Determined to save her now teetering reputation, Jessamine sets out to search for answers and the missing painting on her own. She has invested everything into her art center and is too anxious to step back and do nothing. Along the way, she teams up with a handsome paramedic who seems to have his own reasons for wanting justice for Victor’s tragedy.
I always like discovering a new cozy mystery series from the beginning because I get to meet all the characters for the first time along with everyone else – and then watch them grow as the series progresses. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to read Paint Me A Crime by Holly Yew, but there’s also a very random reason – the protagonist’s name is Jessamine and that’s the name of the county where I lived in Kentucky. Lol. The name drew me to the book, yes, but the relaxed writing style and the enjoyable characters kept me there. Not to mention the twists & turns and red herrings!
I instantly liked Jessamine and felt the excitement with her as she embarked on a new adventure in a new town with new friends. Her community art center sounds like a fun place to hang out, murder nothwithstanding lol, and I appreciated that the art classes didn’t bog down the story with endless steps or details like what happens with some craft-related cozies. Rather, the couple of classes that we’re privy to fit naturally within the flow of the story and – in fact – are the source of some of the drama. I also really liked her swoony paramedic neighbor Jackson, and I’m glad there wasn’t a lot of pretending that they weren’t attracted to each other. The other characters are likable, too, but I didn’t feel that we got to know them much beyond their assigned roles in the story. I imagine more layers will be revealed for Jessamine’s inner circle in future books.
The mystery is nicely layered with several plausible suspects who misdirect and ramp up the tension, including a couple of times where Jessamine’s life is even in danger. A stolen painting. A murdered art collector. A jilted fiance. A bitter competitor…. and more. The stakes get higher at every turn, and I enjoyed tagging along with Jessamine and Jackson as they did their own investigation. I liked the constables too, though (we’re in Vancouver) – especially Lauren – and it will be fun to see how they work together in the future.
Bottom Line: Nothing says “Happy Opening Day” for an art center than a stolen painting and a murdered art collector, right? Poor Jessamine has a lot invested in this fresh start, so it makes sense that she’d be right in the middle of the investigation. I enjoyed Paint Me a Crime by Holly Yew and its balance of sleuthing and character-establishment, though I do wish we’d gotten a bit more insight into Jessamine and her inner circle. The mystery weaves seamlessly through the plot, and while I’d guessed one part of the solution I definitely didn’t have it all worked out correctly in my mind. An entertaining series starter, Paint Me A Crime nicely establishes the Rose Shore universe and Jessamine’s life there. Will be on the lookout for future books for sure!
(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 / enjoyed it!
After having called many places around the world home, Holly Yew has settled in the Okanagan, BC with her husband, son, and two rescue dogs. When she’s not writing or reading, she’s playing the piano, watching Star Wars, or enjoying a Dole Whip in Disneyland.
Holly is a member of Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers. She loves connecting with other writers and bookworms on social media, and you can find her at hollyyew.com.
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What about you? What makes you want to read Paint Me A Crime by Holly Yew?