Paperback, 352 pages
Expected publication: August 27th 2019 by Kensington Publishing Corporation
Autumn has arrived on the shores of Lake Michigan, but Marlee Jacob, proprietor of The Berry Basket, is feeling a chill for other reasons …
With the Harvest Health Fair in full swing, Marlee makes sure to stock up on elderberry products for cold and flu season. But this year there's also a run on mulberry when an eccentric customer wants to use the dried berries to ward off evil forces. True, it's almost Halloween, but something else seems to be spooking Leticia the Lake Lady, Oriole Point's oddest resident. She believes someone plans to kill her—and the ghost. Only mulberries can protect them. Marlee doesn't take her fears seriously until a man named Felix Bonaventure arrives in the village, asking questions about a mysterious woman.
The next day, Marlee finds Bonaventure dead on Leticia's property—shot through the heart with an arrow made of mulberry wood. And Leticia has disappeared. Marlee soon learns the Lake Lady has a deadly past that is connected to the famous Sable family who are in town for the health fair. A bunch of clues start to come together—and figuring out what's going on puts Marlee in a real jam …
This is the fourth book in the Berry Basket Mystery series by Sharon Farrow.
Basic premise: Marlee Jacob owns a business called The Berry Basket. She sells all things berry themed: food, baked goods, fruit, etc. When the mysterious Leticia the Lake Lady approaches her one day to buy enough mulberries to cover her entire house, Marlee is intrigued. She is even more intrigued when the lake lady tells her that someone wants her dead. Marlee delivers the mulberries to Leticia’s house and finds it mysteriously empty. Then she leaves an envelope of the money she had overpaid on the counter and spied a manuscript while there called Mulberry Mischief plus a Mac laptop. Later both are found missing. The next day when the dead body of Felix Bonaventure is discovered in Leticia’s yard, everyone knows something fishy is going on in Oriole Point.
It seemed to take awhile to get all the players on the screen, so to speak, before the reader could get a good idea of who might have dun it. This is the first book I have read in this series so I was playing a bit of catch up when backstory items were mentioned. Nothing too taxing was revealed but I would have liked to know more about Marlee’s breakup. We were only given a vague glimpse into that. I feel I will need to read the previous 3 books in the series to ferret out all the nuances.
It seemed like the story didn’t really hit its groove until the halfway mark. I never felt like I had a good grasp on who the Sables were. There were so many of them and the Peter seemed to be on wife number three. How could I possibly keep up? I really enjoyed Atticus “Kit” Holt (Marlee’s beau) and Old Man Bowman. What a hoot that old dude was. That scene at the end with the shotgun was classic!
The characterization of some of Marlee’s friends seemed interchangeable at times. I had a hard time telling some of them apart from each other since they weren’t on the canvas of the story for very long. The mystery gave us a lot of options and suspects galore. It was interesting to hear the symbology and etymology of the different berry plants.
All in all, it was a great mystery that peaked my interest and made me want to read the other books in the series. If you love a good cozy mystery, check this one our for sure.
I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.