BUTTERFLY BETRAYAL by Ruth J. Hartman
SERIES: A Seneca James Mystery #1
GENRE: Cozy Mystery (Clean)
PUBLISHER: Level Best Books
RELEASE DATE: November 21, 2023
Raising butterflies is peaceful and calm, until someone dies.
Majestic Monarch Butterfly Farm might flitter away forever. That is, unless Seneca James acquires the property next door. She and Winifred, her costume-wearing cat, have a fight on their hands. Their land sits next to a milkweed-covered field, essential for monarchs. If she’s unsuccessful in buying it, her precious, winged friends won’t survive. When people end up dead on her farmland, Seneca is suspected of murder.
What is it about the milkweed field that’s worth killing for? And who’s the murderer?
Ruth J. Hartman creates relatable characters and small town charm with each new book, so I was happy to read her newest cozy mystery, Butterfly Betrayal. When we first meet poor Seneca, our intrepid protagonist and butterfly farmer, she’s not having her best day… mainly due to the dead body of her lawyer in her greenhouse. And unfortunately for Seneca, things only go downhill from there.
I became personally invested in Seneca’s butterflies and admit to feeling reader-rage on their behalf a couple of times in this story. I also now want to plant copious amounts of milkweed to attract them to my own yard because who DOESN’T want a bunch of pretty butterflies flittering around and spreading joy? Seneca is very likable as a character in general and as an amateur sleuth, and I hope to get to know her even better as the series progresses. Her best friend/sheriff Cody had me immediately in his corner, just in case their friendship progresses into something more, but not to worry if you prefer less romance and more mystery – things stay mostly platonic between them in this book.
The mystery itself had nearly as many layers as Seneca has butterflies, and the suspects kept piling up along with the bodies. Perfect opportunity for the small rural town’s quirky characters to come out of the woodwork and complicate things even further for Seneca and Cody. Threats to her livelihood and to her life surround Seneca, and I thought the author did a good job of helping readers feel that tension along with her. I had my suspicions of whodunit but I wasn’t quite as on target as I thought I was, making this a rewarding read for avid armchair sleuths like me who aren’t often surprised.
Bottom Line: Butterfly Betrayal by Ruth J. Hartman is a cute first installment in a new cozy mystery series about a small town butterfly farmer. I enjoyed meeting Seneca, her butterflies, and her costumed cat-with-personality Winnifred, as well as Seneca’s best friend (and town sheriff) Cody. The mystery has several intriguing layers as the body count rises, and the various players and potential suspects kept me guessing. I look forward to more books in this series – and I especially am eager to see if the hints of romance potential between Cody & Seneca develop into something more.
(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
Ruth J. Hartman spends her days herding cats and her nights spinning mysterious tales. She, her husband, and their cats love to spend time curled up in their recliners watching old Cary Grant movies. Well, the cats sit in the people’s recliners. Not that the cats couldn’t get their own furniture. They just choose to shed on someone else’s.
Ruth, a left-handed, cat-herding, farmhouse-dwelling writer uses her sense of humor as she writes tales of lovable, klutzy women who seem to find trouble without even trying.
Ruth’s husband and best friend, Garry, reads her manuscripts, rolls his eyes at her weird story ideas, and loves her despite her insistence all of her books have at least one cat in them. See updates about her cozy mysteries at Ruthjhartman.com.
Other Recently Featured Books by Ruth J. Hartman
This giveaway is hosted by Great Escapes, not RimSP
Follow along with the tour by clicking the banner below
What about you? What makes you want to read Butterfly Betrayal by Ruth J. Hartman?