Our internet was knocked out all day yesterday so I didn’t get a chance to complete this post in time for it to be Friday’s post.
I was unable to review this book when it toured with Great Escapes but was so intrigued by the cover and synopsis that I added it to my calendar then to read it now.
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.
Butterfly Betrayal: A Seneca James Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Rural Indiana
Level Best Books (November 21, 2023)
Print length : 289 Pages
Digital ASIN : B0CKJ16LXB
Raising butterflies is peaceful and calm until someone dies.
Majestic Monarch Butterfly Farm might flitter away forever. That is unless Seneca James acquires the property next door. She and Winifred, her costume-wearing cat, have a fight on their hands. Their land sits next to a milkweed-covered field, essential for monarchs. If she’s unsuccessful in buying it, her precious, winged friends won’t survive. When people end up dead on her farmland, Seneca is suspected of murder.
What is it about the milkweed field that’s worth killing for? And who’s the murderer?
Seneca James owns the Majestic Monarch Butterfly Farm in rural Indiana and she is desperate to exercise the agreement she has made with her neighbor to purchase his property including a milkweed-covered field. Her butterflies need the milkweed, it is critical for their survival as Monarch caterpillars feed exclusively on the leaves.
When Seneca finds her lawyer dead in her greenhouse she is lucky her best friend, Sheriff Cody Bales, is on her side and knows she didn’t kill the man. But when another body is found on/near her property he may not be able to save her.
Can Seneca find the killer and save her beautiful butterflies? Or will she be betrayed by the people she thought were her friends and go to jail for a crime she didn’t commit?
The cover of this book is gorgeous. That and the synopsis propelled me right into the story.
Our protagonist, Seneca James, inherited her farm from her grandmother and made it into a haven for Monarch butterflies. She also owns the Painted Wings Cafe but her cousin Evie runs the place with cook Murray Grimes. Seneca just drops in occasionally to “find out the scuttlebutt happening around” town and to make sure things are running smoothly. Seneca has a wonderful feline named Winifred who wants to dress up every morning. Of course, a monarch outfit is her favorite. Sheriff Cody Bales and Seneca have been lifelong friends. They are just friends for now but I can see it growing into a romantic relationship as the series continues. I really enjoyed meeting these core characters and look forward to getting to know them better.
There was one instance that concerned me about Seneca’s cafe. I realize she is pretty hands-off regarding the place but my parents had a restaurant of similar size and if one of the employees were injured and went to the doctor they wouldn’t have left the restaurant until that employee returned. The injury needs to be documented and even if the other employee stated they didn’t need help the owner should have stuck around especially when a “busload of hungry customers had flooded in” as she was leaving.
The mystery was well-written with plenty of suspects, twists, and turns. The residents of Maple Junction, Indiana are a quirky bunch and I couldn’t believe that many were people Seneca had known her whole life from the way they acted. I knew something was off about one character but I wasn’t able to put the puzzle of clues together until Seneca found a major clue. A major clue that was quickly put her into dire straights. Before the exciting showdown, there was a surprising event that shook me a bit. I hadn’t expected it at all.
Butterfly Betrayal is full of beautiful butterflies, a determined protagonist, a hunky sheriff, an adorable feline, a rising body count, betrayal, and a tangled-up mystery. Ms. Hartman has given this series a terrific start.
About the Author
Ruth J. Hartman spends her days herding cats and her nights spinning mysterious tales. She, her husband, and their cats love to spend time curled up in their recliners watching old Cary Grant movies. Well, the cats sit in the people’s recliners. Not that the cats couldn’t get their own furniture. They just choose to shed on someone else’s.
Ruth, a left-handed, cat-herding, farmhouse-dwelling writer uses her sense of humor as she writes tales of lovable, klutzy women who seem to find trouble without even trying.
Ruth’s husband and best friend, Garry, reads her manuscripts, rolls his eyes at her weird story ideas, and loves her despite her insistence all of her books have at least one cat in them. See updates about her cozy mysteries at Ruthjhartman.com.
Also Written by Ruth J. Hartman
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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.”