Pumpkins in Paradise
by Kathi Daley
I love mysteries–the kind you read. Not the kind where you wonder where you hid something so no one else could find it! I love the type of mystery that focuses on the puzzle, not on the actual blood, gore and violence. I’m not interested in the extremities of psychological madness or depravity. When I retired, and before I began reviewing, I sated my appetite by reading all of Agatha Christie’s novels. Although I didn’t care for her mysteries that dabbled in the occult, most of the rest of the works of this prolific writer are excellent.
Having conquered the Christie mountain of 78 mystery novels, I read from a variety of genres and stumbled across a sub-genre developed at the end of the twentieth century, the cozy mystery. While I don’t limit myself to cozies, I do intersperse them with my other readings. Cozies downplay sex, violence, and inappropriate language while providing the reader with a puzzle. The story is usually set in a small town where everyone knows everyone else. The amateur detective is usually a woman with some contacts in the law enforcement community. A cozy series may be thematic and there is often an element of humor and a touch of romance. Christie’s Miss Marple books fit into this category as does the television series Murder, She Wrote.
Pumpkins in Paradise is the first novel in the Tj Jensen Mystery Series written by Kathi Daley. There are currently seven books in the series, all set in the little town of Paradise and most with a seasonal theme. Our heroine in this cozy series is Tj Jensen, a single, high school PE teacher and coach who has moved in with her father and grandfather. They run a local woodsy resort and are helping her care for her two newly orphaned half-sisters. Pumpkins in Paradise meets all the criteria for a good cozy and excels in the puzzle category. In order to solve a murder mystery, Tj has to solve a final puzzle created for her by the victim. The story is populated by interesting, colorful townsfolk and visitors. The setting has small town appeal: Paradise is decorated for fall and bustling with pumpkin activities.
I recommend Pumpkins in Paradise as an excellent cozy that you will not want to put down. I plan on reading other books in the series–comfortable excitement in a feel good setting. But don’t be fooled–Pumpkins in Paradise has a healthy dose of suspense as well!
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Henery Press for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.