A Reference to Murder by Kym Roberts
Rating: Very Good
Description: Charli Rae Warren is back home in Hazel Rock, Texas, spending her time reading, collecting, and selling books—at least, the ones that don’t get eaten first by her father’s pet armadillo. Running the family bookstore is a demanding job, but solving murders on the side can be flat out dangerous…
The Book Barn is more than just a shop, it’s a part of the community—and Charli is keeping busy with a fundraising auction and the big rodeo event that’s come to town. That includes dealing with the Texas-sized egos of some celebrity cowboys, including Dalton Hibbs, a blond, blue-eyed bull rider who gets overly rowdy one night with the local hairdresser . . . and soon afterward, disappears into thin air.
Dalton’s brother also vanished seven years ago—and Charli is thrown about whether Dalton is a villain or a victim. After a close call with an assailant wielding a branding iron (that plays havoc with her hair) and some strange vandalism on her property, she’s going to have to team up with the sheriff to untangle this mystery, before she gets gored . . .
Genre: Mystery - Cozy
Why I Picked This Book: The first book in this series intrigued me because it involves a bookstore so when the second book showed up with a missing persons case in the blurb I couldn't resist it!
My Impression: I am on a roll with good cozies and A Reference to Murder kept the streak going! Charlie is still trying to adjust to moving back to her hometown and is trying to repair her relationship with her father. Her days are busy working in the Book Barn, participating in a fundraising auction, and keeping her pet armadillo from eating the stock. Throw in some tangled feelings for the mayor, Cade, and the sheriff, Mateo, and her plate is more than a little full.
When Dalton Hibbs strides into Hazel Rock, charms Charli's best friend Scarlet, then disappears leaving nothing but questions just like his brother did years before Charli has no choice but to get involved. I have no interest in bull riding and have never been to a rodeo but I did enjoy the tidbits that were in this book. It was fun to get a look inside the business. I doubt I'll ever go to a rodeo but I think I have a new appreciation for bull riders. I liked the town of Hazel Rock a lot. There are a few quirky characters and quite a number of likable and interesting people. I'm curious about the direction Charli's love life will go and how she continues to make her adult home in her hometown.
The mystery was entertaining and there were a lot of different threads. What happened to Dalton? Who attacked Charli with a branding iron? Who broke in to Scarlet's trailer? What happened to Wyatt all those years ago? I think I changed my mind about a dozen times while reading! I was surprised by the reveal but I thought it felt a little rushed. All the questions were answered but I would have liked a little more time to get everything resolved.
Overall, this was an entertaining mystery with a likable main character. I'm looking forward to visiting Hazel Rock again in the future!
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Absolutely! I really enjoyed this one.
Would I Recommend this Book?: I would! If you enjoy cozy mysteries this is a fun series that I hope will be around for awhile.