A Fatal Collection (A Keepsake Cove Mystery #1) by Mary Ellen Hughes (Amazon Link)
Rating: Very Good
Description: Callie Reed makes a long overdue visit to her aunt Melodie, who lives in a fairy-tale cottage in quaint Keepsake Cove, home to a bevy of unique collectible shops on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Just as they're beginning to reconnect, Callie discovers her aunt's body on the floor of her music box shop. Grief-stricken, Callie finds she can't accept Melodie's death being called accidental. How could her strong and healthy aunt take such a fatal fall? And why was she there in the middle of the night?
As Callie searches for the truth, signs seem to come from her late aunt through a favorite music box, urging Callie on. Or are they warnings? If Callie isn't careful, she could meet a similar deadly fate amid Melodie's collection.
Genre: Mystery - Cozy
Why I Picked This Book: I've been wanting to read this author for ages and this new series sounds like a lot of fun. Plus, I love music boxes and love the idea of a whole store full of them.
My Impression: Oh I really enjoyed this one! The book starts with Callie coming to visit her Aunt Mel though the visit doesn't last very long as Callie finds her aunt's body shortly after her arrival. I liked that Callie didn't go immediately on a mission from the start. Something about her aunt's death didn't sit quite right with her but she didn't immediately decide to interrogate everyone her aunt ever knew. Her reaction felt very natural and was one of the reasons she was so easy to like.
This is the first book in the series so there's a decent amount of setup but it's such fun setup! There are a lot of characters in Keepsake Cove. I love the idea of a little cove of collectible shops and it sounds like it'd be so fun to explore for a few days. Each shop has an owner and each owner has their own distinct personality. As well there are Shop Owner's Association politics and the usual rumor mill. However, while sometimes the setup can overwhelm the book and feel a little tedious this never feels anything but delightful. I loved getting to know everyone in Keepsake Cove and getting a feel of the community and I'm already really excited to visit again.
The mystery was entertaining and well done. There are plenty of suspects and so much of what happens could be explained away by less sinister explanations which has Callie wondering if there really is anything to worry about. There are several suspects and while I had a pretty good idea on the "Who" I had no clue on the "Why".
This is a cozy mystery in the very best sense of the word. Callie is someone I'd like to be friends with, Keepsake Cove is a place I'd love to visit, and the mystery was well paced and entertaining. This was a delightful and fast paced read and perfect for a cozy evening.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author? Absolutely! I already have several other books by Hughes on my shelves and I'll be looking for the next Keepsake Cove mystery.
Would I Recommend this Book? Yes! If you enjoy cozy mysteries I think you'll really enjoy this new series.