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.
Dead, White, and Blue
(The Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery Series)
2nd in Series
Setting – Colorado
Pau Hana Publishing (June 11, 2019)
Paperback : 322 pages
ISBN-10 : 173269074X
ISBN-13 : 978-1732690745
Kindle ASIN : B07SKW9B9D
It’s bad enough when the owner of the new bistro in town drops dead at the Independence Day celebration, but when Noley, Lilly’s best friend, is charged with the murder, things start to heat up.
And speaking of heat, there’s a firebug on the loose in Juniper Junction. Houses in town are going up in smoke and when the fires hit a little too close to home, Lilly is pulled into the investigation to uncover the identity of the arsonist.
Can Lilly clear Noley’s name and figure out who’s starting the fires before she becomes a victim herself?
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire in this cozy holiday mystery perfect for fans of Gayle Leeson and Karen MacInerney. Find out if Lilly gets burned as she deals with murder, mayhem, her mother’s dementia, and a coming-of-age issue under her own roof.
Juniper Junction goes all out for the 4th of July Holiday complete with a celebration and a reenactment of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The shopkeepers decorate their stores in banners of Red, White, and Blue, and dress in costumes of the period. This year Lily’s best friend Noley has been awarded the contract to provide all the food for the event but the owners of a new bistro in town want to provide food too. An agreement is made that the bistro will provide an ice cream sundae bar adjacent to Noley’s food tent. Noley has run herself ragged making sure everything is just perfect and the day is going well until one of the owners of the bistro drops dead and Noley is charged with the murder.
As if the murder isn’t enough to keep the police busy, someone is burning down vacant houses. The first house was near a graduation party Lily’s son is attending. Lily witnesses the final house fire herself and may be able to identify the firebug. On top of that Lily is dealing with her mother’s dementia and some tough decisions are going to be made soon. First, though she needs to clear Noley’s name and get her out of jail without becoming another one of the killer’s victims.
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, The Worst Noel, and added this book to my calendar for this week to coincide with the holiday.
Lily and her family are very true to life and deal with issues many of us face. She raised her children on her own and their father has just recently reentered the picture. Her mother is living on her own but her health is truly failing. I love the way her grandchildren step in to help and how close they are, having sleepovers and family meals. They are just as concerned about her as their mom and their uncle.
The one thing that felt a little off is Lily’s business. She does leave her employee in charge a lot as she handles chamber business or chasing down clues, but she also spends an extraordinary time in her office doing paperwork. Her employee is very capable but usually, a small business has the owner covering most of the hours. She must truly have an incredible business to meet all her expenses for both her business and her family and still be able to employ someone more than full-time. Unless I totally missed it she didn’t design any jewelry pieces during this story either.
Now the mystery in this story really had me guessing. Anyone at that event could have been the killer as it was super easy to set up the crime and disappear into the crowd. The same with the firebug. Anyone in town could be starting the fires, even some newly graduated high school students. Lily is pulled in several directions as she tries to sort through the suspects and clues while handling teenagers and her mom and still trying to have a little romance in her life. The author tangles all the events and happenings together superbly giving the book an excellent flow. I was truly surprised by the big reveal and a little sad at the same time.
Dead, White, and Blue was a fun holiday read that helped get me into the spirit for the celebration this weekend. After missing the family get-together last year due to COVID this is our first chance to get our extended clan together. Hopefully, murder won’t play a part in our event and the only firetrucks we will see are in the parade.
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