On Flashback Fridays I will share with you the books I missed when they were first
released that have been screaming at me from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
I am so excited to be reviewing books again for Flashback Friday!
This book was actually on my wish list when the publicist contacting about reviewing the 2nd book in the series. She made my day when she offered to send me both. So be sure to come back next Tuesday for my review of Wedding Bell Blues!
Doing It at the Dixie Dew:
(A Beth McKenzie Mystery)
1st in Series
Setting – North Carolina
Minotaur Books (May 6, 2014)
E-Book ASIN: B00GET8T8Q
Who says you can’t go home again?
When Beth McKenzie returns to her hometown and attempts to turn an old Southern mansion into a bed and breakfast called The Dixie Dew, her first guest is murdered. Three days later a young priest who looks better in tennis whites than cleric black is found strangled in his chapel. The whole town of Littleboro is turned upside down, inside out, and Ossie Delbardo, the town cop whose job heretofore mainly involved controlling football traffic on Friday nights, is not cut out to solve the murders. Beth fears her newly opened B&B is in danger of failing. She’s even more worried that she is Ossie’s number one suspect. Aided by her friend from high school and trusty handyman, she sets out to discover the truth of the murders.
Littleboro has its share of characters, some of which are helpful and others misleading. There’s Crazy Reba who lives in a tree, bathes in any bathtub she finds empty, and Dumpster dives; Verna, the town know-it-all and affectionate owner of Robert Redford, a huge white rabbit; and Miss Tempie Merritt, music teacher and organist who always wears hat, gloves, and lace-trimmed white socks. When Beth herself is attacked, there’s no more time for baking muffins and stenciling pineapples on the porch. She’s in a race to uncover her neighbors’ secrets before her hometown becomes her burial ground.
Doing It at the Dixie Dew is a divine debut!
Our first home was right next to a PBP (Pepto Bismol Pink) house so the cover grabbed by attention right away. Then when I had the book in my hands and started reading about Beth McKenzie returning to Littleboro, North Carolina, because her grandmother was dying I was drawn right in. She made sure her “Mama Alice” had the best of care until she passed. That left Beth with an old Southern Mansion that needed a lot of work and not enough money to do it all. But she got enough done to open a B&B and The Dixie Dew became a reality.
Lavinia Lovingood arrived as the first guest but sadly she checked out early and permanently from this earth the next day. Three days later a young priest is murdered and we learn Lavinia’s death was murder too! Not a great start for The Dixie Dew. Enter Ossie Delbardo, cop without a clue. Littleboro has a very low crime rate and because Beth is newly back in town it has be all her fault. Well hold on tight, she is not taking is accusations ans insinuations lightly. She will find out whodunit x 2 all on her own.
Classic small town and some of the characters take quirky to an all time high. The basically normal folks include Beth, of course. Ida Plum had known Mama Alice for years and basically hires herself to help Beth with the B&B. Beth’s contractor is in her corner and willing to help in any way he can. For me he sounds like one “McDreamy” of a guy who wears a tool belt. The rest I will leave for you to read about and classify.
This is a book full of Southern charm and funny moments. The plot ebbed and flowed naturally as Beth pondered and wandered to get the clues to fall in place. But there were some places where I sat up straight and gripped the book tightly, almost holding my breath until things were resolved for those moments and then again as everything fell into place for Beth at a very scary time and place. My heart was actually racing and for just a second I thought there was going to be a horrible twist. Thankfully I was completely wrong.
I was so surprised to learn the author wrote this story 27 years ago. It had won the Malice Domestic St.Martin’s Press Award for first novel. Then in 2014, she updated it and it was released in the form available today. Next Tuesday, Wedding Bell Blues, will be released picking up where this story left off. For those of you that have waited all those years to return to Littleboro, your wait is almost over. I am so lucky because I get to read them back to back.
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”