Thursday, May 20, 2010

Town in a Blueberry Jam, by B.B. Haywood

A month or so ago I was lucky enough to win Sharon's Garden of Book Review's Spring Cozy Give-Away.  One beautiful spring day I received a box with over 10 titles-HOORAY!  Thanks again Sharon!

Now, it should be said that I am fairly new to the cozy mystery sub-genre.  Last year I was browsing on the Books-A-Million website, and I discovered a couple new mystery series with female protagonists.  I assumed they would be like Sharon McCone or Kay Scarpetta.  Instead, they were more like Jessica Fletcher.  Women of a certain age, ordinary moms/shopkeepers/bakers/scrapbookers/librarians/vampires/telepaths (OK, I guess vampires and telepaths are not ordinary, but there are cozy mysteries about them, so whatever) solving mysteries not because it is their job, but because they are kind and thoughtful, or nosy and bossy, or wrongly accused themselves, and want to see justice done.  Little did I know that I was finding a new-to-me sub-genre complete with it's own websites and blogs!

So, with a box full of cozies to choose from, I picked Town in a Blueberry Jam, by B.B. Haywood.  Mostly I chose it because it is the beginning of a series, and most of the other titles are continuations, so I wanted to start something fresh.  The story revolves around the ridiculously-named Candy Holliday, a former marketing exec turned blueberry farmer in southeastern Maine.  After her marriage failed, and her mother died, she moved with her father, Doc, to Blueberry Acres to try a different kind of life.  As the story opens Candy is preparing for the annual Blueberry Festival, which includes the pageant to crown the Blueberry Queen.  After an unexpected turn-of-events leads to the winner being a 30-something woman instead of a high school student, chaos and murder ensue.  Candy and her best friend Maggie are left to try and find the truth behind this mysterious death.

The thing about cozy mysteries is that you just have to take them as they are.  They are light, rather shallow, easy to read, and I don't know about you but I can usually see the answer to the mystery coming from pretty early on in the book.  What makes them enjoyable, at least for me, is the fact that they are light, rather shallow, easy to read, and easy to figure out.  They are the perfect book for when my brain is tired, like it is at the end of a school year.  I don't necessarily want deep, thoughtful literature.  I want escapism.  Town in a Blueberry Jam helped me to escape from the stress and chaos that the end of the year brings in my world.  There are two major things in its favor.  One,  it is set in my favorite part of the country, New England.  Haywood does a good job evoking a small-town summer in that part of the world.  And, it kept me guessing.  I thought I had it figured out, but there was a twist at the end that I didn't see coming.  Overall, Town in a Blueberry Jam was a pleasant, if not earth-shattering, way to spend a couple of days.

1 comment:

  1. I had fun with it, too. The more cozy mysteries you read, the more obvious it becomes that some of the writers began in the romance genre. There are a few that I simply won't read because of the "stupid heroine" convention slopping over from romance, but there are others, like Susan Albert's China Bayles series, that I read as much to see what's next in the characters' lives as for the mystery.

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