Friday, December 31, 2010

Lye in Wait by Cricket McRae

Amazon Product Description
Cocoa butter soap, check. Lemon lip balm, check. A dead body?

That's just what Sophie Mae Reynolds finds in her workroom: the corpse of Walter Hanover, the neighborhood handyman. He died from drinking lye, something she has in good supply. But the police don't suspect Sophie Mae, a thirty-something widow who makes and sells beauty products. Instead they call it a suicide. But why would a man with lottery cash and a loving fiancée kill himself?

No one can stop the impulsive Sophie Mae from answering this riddle, not her sensible best friend Meghan or Detective Ambrose, who incites annoyance as well as stomach flutters. Sophie Mae's big mouth and sharp nose lead her to a peppermint-scented trail of arson, bigamy, and a shocking family secret that reveals a personal connection to Walter . . . and his killer.

This series had been on my radar for a while, but I had not had a chance to read it.  Over the holidays, I won a gift certificate from one of the blogs I follow and I used part of it to purchase this book for the Kindle App on my iPad. 

I’m hooked. I love mysteries set in a crafty setting.  Like many other such authors, McCrae offers recipes and tips.  But all of that is just icing on the cake.

McCrae has crafted an engaging and creative mystery, featuring a no non-nonsense, yet curious heroine.  Sophie Mae is a very likable character (though I must admit I’m very amazed at her ability to turn her soap making business into such a growing concern, early on.  Perhaps her struggle to get it up and running is part of the back-story.)  Sophie Mae’s housemate, Meghan and Meghan’s daughter provide a loving family unit for Sophie Mae. Detective Ambrose is an intriguing love interest. I look forward to learning more about him.

One of the things I like about the budding relationship between Sophie Mae and Ambrose is that  even though Ambrose is a no-nonsense detective who believes that detecting should be left up to the professionals, he recognizes early on that Sophie Mae is going to give into her curiosity.  He’s not obnoxious in his efforts to get her to stop sleuthing.   You get the impression, he just might have a budding respect for Sophie Mae’s ability to get answers.

When reading cozy mysteries, it’s important to suspend the disbelief that ordinary citizens could and would do the things that cozy amateur sleuths often do.  McCrae makes that easy for her readers.  Sophie Mae’s sleuthing just seems natural.

Lye in Wait is a quick, light read that keeps the reader engaged from page one. If you enjoy cozy mysteries you should add this series to your list of favorites.

I’m definitely looking forward to the next in the series.

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