Title: Killer Jam (Dewberry Farm Mystery 1)
Author: Karen MacInerney
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: 2015
Lucy Resnick accepts a buyout from her job as crime writer for a Houston newspaper and purchases her grandparent’s old farm, Dewberry Farm, in Buttercup, Texas. Life is full of adventure on the farm as she chases her escape-artist cow, attempts to put her overweight dog Chuck on a diet, and learn all the homesteading necessities of growing vegetables, making candles, and producing homemade cheese. Although the work is tiring and she is concerned about being able to sustain a living through her farm efforts, Lucy is happy settling down in the country life until a thumper truck shows up on her driveway with the intent to drill for possible oil. She quickly rushes down to Nellie Kocurek, the woman who previously owned the property, and learns that Nellie is the owner of the mineral rights to the land. Lucy exchanges some heated words with Nellie and scrounges to put the money together for a lawyer.
At the town’s Founder’s Day celebration, Nellie is found with a bratwurst skewer through her heart and a broken Dewberry Farm jam jar beside her. Sherriff Rooster Kocurek, who also happens to be Nellie’s nephew, is quick to find Lucy the likeliest culprit. In an effort to clear her name and retain her property, Lucy begins to talk to friends and neighbors. She quickly learns that Nellie wronged many people in town and her death wasn’t an unwelcome act. Lucy also begins to discover some clues to an interesting historical mystery on her farm that may affect both the future and the past . . . if she can just stay out of jail long enough to solve it.
I picked up this book because I am a fan of Karen MacInerney’s Gray Whale Inn mystery series, which is set off the coast of Maine. The stories present interesting characters in a specialized setting. The pace is quick and MacInerney incorporates a lot of humor and warmth. The Dewberry Farm series has the same feel.
As much as I enjoyed the Gray Whale Inn series, I appreciate the author’s realization that the characters and location had run its course. It is refreshing for her to start a new series and I look forward to the next installment.
Who might like this book:
If you like cozy mysteries, check this book out. As a resident of Austin, MacInerney understand the local flavor of a small Texas town. Her wit and charm are evident not only in what she is writing, but also the voice and tone she uses to convey the story. It is a quick read; complete with recipes.