On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.
I must have really wanted to read this story.
I had an old print omnibus of the first three books in this series on my TBR shelf,
and a digital copy on my Kindle. 🙂
In the Dead of Winter (An Ivy Towers Mystery)
Christian Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Kansas
Champ Publishing (August 7, 2017)
Print Length: 205 pages
Kindle ASIN: B074MPKJ6R
Samantha “Ivy” Towers returns to Winter Break, Kansas, where she spent her summers as a child, to make funeral arrangements for her Aunt Bitty. While there, she begins to suspect her aunt’s death, which resulted from a fall in her bookshop, wasn’t an accident after all. Childhood friend Amos Parker, now sheriff of Winter Break, seems anxious to get Ivy out of town. A missing book, a message scrawled by an unknown person, and an extra coffee cup leave Ivy with more questions than answers.
A quick trip to Winter Break turns out to be more complicated than Samantha “Ivy” Towers ever imagined. With her parents overseas she is responsible for planning her Aunt Bitty’s funeral and tying up her legal affairs that may include selling her bookstore. Soon after she arrives she finds out that her aunt left everything to her with the exception of a few special gifts. But Aunt Bitty’s death is troubling and not just for Ivy. The investigation was quickly wrapped up and the body cremated a little too fast. She even finds an unsigned note that tells her it was not an accident. She knows most of the residents of Winter Break but someone is lying. She only has a few weeks off from college but she is not leaving until she finds out what really happened to her Aunt Bitty.
Winter in Winter Break sounds similar to winter in Wisconsin so I felt right at home. Like most small towns it is full of its share of quirky residents, but one thing is for sure everyone loved Aunt Bitty. She was a special lady and she will be missed. The author has created such wonderful characters. Hearing the people talk about Aunt Biddy made me really sad she was the victim of the horrible murder. Ivy though has a lot of the same qualities as her aunt, she just doesn’t realize it yet. Her upbringing was a bit unusual so there is a sense of insecurity. She evolved in this story but the author has left her plenty of room to grow.
We meet several of Winter Break’s finest including Amos, a deputy sheriff and old friend of Ivy’s and Ruby that owns the local diner with her signature burgers. A visitor in town lands squarely on Ivy’s suspect list, his arrival is just too suspicious and he is clearly hiding something.
The story had a couple of hitches for me, medical things mostly, but the mystery was well-plotted. It had plenty of twists but I picked out the murderer early on. It was interesting to read to the end to be sure I was right and the true motive for the crime.
The story does have a Christian theme and a clear message that blends with the mystery very nicely and does overpower it.
I found this to be a fine start for this series and am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Bye, Bye, Bertie.
About the Author (from Amazon)
Nancy Mehl lives in Missouri, with her husband Norman, and her very active puggle, Watson. She’s authored thirty books and is currently at work on a new FBI suspense series for Bethany House Publishing.
All of Nancy’s novels have an added touch – something for your spirit as well as your soul. “I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing,” Nancy says. “It’s a part of me and of everything I think or do. God is number one in my life. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t believe that this is what He’s called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan especially for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.”
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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.”