Jessie Crockett's latest book in the Sugar Grove mystery series, Maple Mayhem, is a perfect example of a traditional mystery in which murder disrupts a small, close-knit community. But, before murder, vandalism starts to tear it apart. And, amateur sleuth Dani Greene isn't comfortable when she distrusts lifelong friends.
Actually, Dani's family has known some of the other families for generations. The Greene family goes back 200 years in Sugar Grove, New Hampshire. And, Dani is the fourth generation of maple syrup maker. It's her idea to establish a cooperative with other local producers so they can buy supplies at a lower cost. But, someone isn't happy with the idea. Trees are vandalized, neighbors terrorized. Everyone in town suspects the same man. But, when Dani finds him dead, murdered in his own sugarhouse, she's afraid someone she's known her whole life is to blame.
Crockett's mystery is one that will leave the reader guessing until the end. However, Dani is the standout in this book, with her love of family and community. When an amateur sleuth has a valid reason for investigating, it makes the mystery that much more believable. Dani wants to prove herself as a member of the Greene family. The co-op is her way of giving back, just as other members of her family have given back to Sugar Grove. When someone tries to destroy it, Dani is concerned, then angry, then determined to find answers.
Dani Greene finds herself in one sticky situation. Maple Mayhem is a murder mystery in which an amateur sleuth investigates to find the killer that has disrupted her hometown. But, with the deep feelings and strong family connections, at times it's as warm and comforting as maple syrup. It's truly an exceptional mystery that demonstrates the strength and importance of family while showing the pain of murder.
Jessie Crockett's website is www.jessiecrockett.com
Maple Mayhem by Jessie Crockett. Berkley Prime Crime. 2014. ISBN 9780425260203 (paperback), 295p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.