The Leaf Peeper Murders
Review: Two recent suspicious deaths — suicide? murder? — in the small town of Button Hollow, New Hampshire, have Sheriff Jeff Ramsey puzzled and on the defensive in The Leaf Peeper Murders, the first mystery in this series by sisters Loni Emmert and P. I. Barrington.
There isn't much crime in Button Hollow … until now. Two bodies have been recovered north of town, both dead of gunshot wounds — but from different guns. Eugene Sweeney was one of the town's five drunks, but otherwise harmless. Rhonda Smith was a contemporary of Ramsey's in school, but whose life had disintegrated into sex for money to pay for drugs. Both could have been suicides, but from Ramsey's perspective, they were too perfect, like those one sees on television. The mayor is pushing Ramsey to close the cases quickly, bad publicity for the town and all, while the local Citizen's Brigade — a group of elderly men and women with too much time on their hands — are working the cases themselves … that is, when their most senior member, Anne Jolie Watson, isn't out and about looking for other crimes for them to solve. It isn't until a third person is killed — this time, clearly murder — that Ramsey begins to suspect a local connection.
The Leaf Peeper Murders is a relatively short, pleasant, cozy village-style murder mystery, that is most enjoyable for its setting and characters. In particular, Anne Jolie Watson, as the self-appointed head of the Citizen's Brigade, is a delight. The narrative is somewhat uneven in the beginning — point-of-view frequently changes, sometimes from paragraph to paragraph, and there is a rather rushed feel to it — but it smoothes out after a while. The murder mystery itself is a little thinly plotted in places and has some credibility issues, but the nearly nonstop activity of the appealing characters, and Sheriff Jeff Ramsey level-headedness as he proceeds with his investigation, tend to compensate. Overall, The Leaf Peeper Murders is a good start to a series that clearly has the potential to entertain.
Acknowledgment: Loni Emmert and P. I. Barrington provided a copy of The Leaf Peeper Murders for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Leaf Peeper Murders: New Hampshire
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The Leaf Peeper Murders by Loni Emmert and P. I. Barrington — A Jeff Ramsey Mystery
Publisher: Mainly Murder Press
Format: Trade Paperback
Publication Date: August 2010
List Price: $12.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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