Retro Reading: Little Shop of Homicide by Denise Swanson
Love Doesn't Stink, It Kills
How was your Valentine's Day weekend? If you weren't a suspect in the death of your former boyfriend's fiancée, then it should have been a good weekend for you.
This is just the beginning for dime store owner Devereaux Sinclair as the first installment of the Dime Store Mysteries, Little Shop of Homicide by Denise Swanson. And for Dev, it's a Monday.
Dev has recently bought the town's dime store after quitting her financial job in Kansas City. She couldn't stand the thought of the store being bought by a huge conglomerate so, with the little money she had, she invested it into the store and also started a side business of making specialty baskets.
That's how she became the prime suspect in Joelle Ayers' murder. The deceased was found in a hotel room handcuffed to the bed, murdered with a champagne bottle and a stiletto heel sticking out of her chest. Joelle had came into the store to pick up a basket on Friday, and Dev's fingerprints were on the basket so naturally she becomes the prime suspect (and with her past history with Noah Underwood, the cops think she's still harboring romantic feelings).
After receiving the news, Dev goes to her best friends, Poppy (the police chief's daughter) and Boone St. Onge. The three meet at Poppy's bar, Gossip Central, and try to come up with a plan as to who would kill Joelle.
When U.S. Marshal Jake Del Vecchio comes to town to help with his great uncle's farm, Dev has to keep her feelings under control since this could be the man she's been waiting for. There's a little help from her grandmother and Jake's uncle (who used to date when they were younger) and this could be the romance the two elders never had.
The one thing I can safely say about this book is it sucks you in right away. Swanson has created a great small town and if you're "of a certain age" and remember five-and-dime stores then your mind will almost travel back into that innocent part of your life.
These characters are wonderfully written and you can't get enough. It doesn't matter your gender, but these crimozies are addicting. I've always said its best to read the series because once you get started, you need more.
Swanson is also the author of the Scumble River mysteries and with a huge catalog I know I could never devote my time to that series, but I have to confess that I'm a definite fan of Dev and crew and look forward to what promises to be a very satisfying series.