Hemlock for the Holidays A Fine Art Mystery #3

Hemlock for the Holidays
A Fine Art Mystery #3
by Paula Darnell

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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I picked this one up for the r/CozyMystery Plant in the Title square on book bingo (I’m still not 100% sure if Hemlock is a flower or a plant. All I could come up with was “flowering plant” which didn’t tell me much!) This is the third book in the series, but I’d say it can easily be read as a standalone, as any mentions of prior events didn’t hamper my enjoyment or understanding. But, it was so good, I will be reading the earlier books.

This was a nice, easy read with an enjoyable community of characters, a twisty plot and all the joy of Christmas. Lonesome Valley is a typical small town where everyone knows everyone else’s business and Amanda relies on her close knit group of friends to catch her up on the backstories of the townspeople. (I’m going to quote Mint’s review, “...the town is charming, yet flawed, adding a realistic touch to the story” and I agree completely!) I have to say, in this one, the people definitely outshone the plot, which isn’t to say the plot wasn’t good (it was!) but for once I enjoyed the people more. Usually I’m all about the solving, but I just liked hanging out with Amanda and the other characters so much, I wasn’t even trying to solve the mystery. Overall, a great read and I look forward to returning to Lonesome Valley!

Published August 5, 2021 by ‎ Campbell and Rogers Press

CautionSpoiler below reveals the ending, so don’t click on it if you don’t want it spoiled:

Click DETAILS for spoiler:
It really didn’t make much sense to me why the killer bothered slipping the poisoned carrot cake bars into the bake sale, then bought them and gave them to the victim. Wouldn’t it have been easier to skip the extra step and just give them to the victim, saying they’re from the bake sale? There was no evidence where the poisoned carrot cake bars came from, so why risk getting caught with the poisoned ones or the poisoned ones not selling? By slipping them into the bake sale, there was even less possibility of them finding their way to the victim. For all the killer knew, there might’ve been so many non-poisoned carrot cake bars that the poisoned ones may not even have ben sold. And how did he know there would be carrot cake bars at the bake sale and if they’d be decorated or not? Too much risk to bother, IMHO. I’ll also be interested in reading the next book in the series when it comes out if there was any fallout helicopter company’s lawsuit and the shenanigans behind it. 

2 thoughts on “Hemlock for the Holidays A Fine Art Mystery #3

  1. I counted this one as a plant for bingo because to me, flowers are more like roses, tulips and the like – but that’s my completely unscientific assessment!

    Without saying too much about your spoiler, I totally agree. There were several parts of the mystery that didn’t make too much logical sense to me, particularly the plot line about the mayor’s husband. I did appreciate that the mystery took a different direction than most cozies though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, that’s what I liked best about this one; that it managed to be so cozy yet so different than a lot of cozy mysteries. Like I said, I ended up just wanting to hang out with Amanda and her friends (and the pets!) and didn’t even try to sleuth along with Amanda like I usually do. I’m really looking forward to the next book to see what happens to the mayor and her husband, surely they can’t get away with what they’re doing? Aaand there it is, the hook that’s going to keep me glued to this series 😁

      Liked by 1 person

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