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Formats
Ebook Details
  • 02/2021
  • 9780578835747
  • 320 pages
  • $7.99
Loving and Dying in Notchey Creek

Adult; Mystery/Thriller; (Market)

It's Valentine's Day in Notchey Creek, Tennessee, and whiskey distiller Harley Henrickson is volunteering at the Reading is Love festival. Books line the streets, snowflakes dapple the air, and paper hearts adorn storefront windows. Even Harley’s pet pig, Matilda, is feeling festive, gracing the sidewalks in her Cupid costume. But no sooner have the festivities begun, when Harley finds the charred remains of a car and a body outside Briarwood Park. While Sheriff Jed Turner is initially convinced the fire was an accident, Harley suspects something more sinister. When a much-disliked editor of the town’s newspaper is murdered, and Harley's best friend, Tina Rizchek, is framed for the crime, Harley decides to investigate. A trail of poison-pen letters, car fires, lethal cupcakes, secret affairs, and blackmail, leads Harley to the town's new bookstore and a handsome graduate student who has come to Notchey Creek under mysterious circumstances. In the meantime, Harley has her hands full in other areas. She's pet sitting Beau Arson's rescue dog, Ozzy, while Beau is in Los Angeles. Aunt Wilma and Opha Mae are determined to get her a date for Valentine's Day. Uncle Tater and Floyd have entered the bachelor auction. Jed is in an especially foul mood. Grandma Ziegler and Petie are philosophising about the finer points of Pride and Prejudice. And Harley feels the pull of her heartstrings when she learns Eric Winston is single again. Includes recipes.
Reviews
East Tennessee native Andrews continues her Harley Henrickson mystery series with this winning third installment (after The Ghosts of Notchey Creek). Series hero Harley, a whiskey distiller in Notchey Creek, discovers a charred car with a burned body inside it. She promptly notifies Sheriff Jed Turner, but the body count rises when Bethany Carmichael, editor and restaurant review columnist at The Notchey Creek Telephone, is murdered. Police initially suspect bakery owner Tina Rizche, since her business supplied the poisoned cupcake that killed the critic. But after wealthy socialite Jessica Westlake is also poisoned (and police arrest Westlake’s estranged husband Ryan for the murder), Harley once again takes to sleuthing, determined to unearth the true killer.

Andrews’s extensive cast of quirky characters enhances this cozy mystery, and her quick, clear descriptions unobtrusively bring new readers up to speed about relationships and backstories. The host of likely suspects also lends intensity to the story, while the return of Harley’s crush– Eric Winston, an Ivy League medical pathologist who performs autopsies on the bodies and is, in Harley’s estimation, “out of her league economically, physically, professionally, and socially”– adds welcome sizzle to the lighthearted intrigue. Their longing looks and heated, memorable dialogue will offer strong incentive to readers to pick up the next installment.

The appealing characterization doesn’t end with Notchey Creek’s human residents. Andrews stirs laughs and warmth with her attention to pets, including Harley’s pig Matilda, all decked out for Valentine’s Day; Ozzy, a rescue dog with wheels powering his back legs; and Petie, the often insulting therapy parrot. In crisp, engaging prose, Harley’s methodical clue gathering finds the hero investigating her town’s love triangles and a blackmailing scheme, while Andrews keeps the pages turning with twisty plotting, clever red herrings, and local color as distinct as the recipes for whiskey cocktails that close out the book.

Takeaway: This lighthearted mystery in small town Tennessee blends an amateur sleuth, a splash of romance, and an appealing cast.

Great for fans of: Eve Calder, Maddie Day.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: A-
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A

Kirkus Reviews

A Tennessee whiskey distiller puts her sleuth hat on again in this third installment of a mystery series. 

Notchey Creek has seen a lot of drama for a little Appalachian town, and 26-year-old whiskey distiller Harley Henrickson has been in the thick of it, investigating murders and solving mysteries while inventing cocktails. Now, with Valentine’s Day celebrations afoot, several kinds of trouble are stirring up. Harley discovers a burned-out car with a body inside; the sheriff thinks it’s an accidental death, but she’s not so sure. Other conflicts include blackmail, romantic rivalries, and a messy divorce between Ryan and Jessica Westlake, two of the town’s wealthiest residents. Then there’s Ryan’s rumored affair with Bethany Carmichael, 26, who writes devastating reviews of local establishments for the Notchey Creek Telephone, a newspaper owned by Ryan. Jane Merriman blames her husband’s fatal stroke on Bethany’s scathing column, which led to their restaurant’s failure. The latest victims of Bethany’s vitriol are Harley’s best friend, Tina Rizchek, also 26, and her bakery/cafe, Tina’s Treats. When Bethany dies from eating a poisoned cupcake, Tina is the chief suspect—but given the reviewer’s reputation, not the only one. Although it’s a tangled web, Harley is the woman to unravel it. In her latest series entry, Andrews again does a fine job of keeping the mystery’s solution in suspense until the end while offering a charmingly folksy setting and eccentric characters. Harley’s great-uncle and his friend, for example, hope to attract bidders at a bachelor auction by highlighting such skills as “Can pee the alphabet in snow.” The more colorful aspects of Harley’s life (like her fashionista pet pig) are given depth by her intelligent, determined sleuthing as well as romantic yearnings complicated by self-doubts from a painful childhood.

Another twisty, entertaining entry in this cozy series featuring an appealing investigator.

News
04/16/2021
Audibook Now Available!

Loving and Dying in Notchey Creek is now available in audiobook format on Audible. 

Formats
Ebook Details
  • 02/2021
  • 9780578835747
  • 320 pages
  • $7.99

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