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Scumble River Murder Mystery Series Books, in Order

Updated on November 15, 2015
Huntgoddess profile image

I am a mom and granny, still hoping to finish my undergrad degree someday. I've been hoping to get to law school since I was eight.

Scumble River Mysteries by Denise Swanson

Featuring amateur sleuth and professional school psychologist Skye Dennison.

This is a general intro to the Scumble River Mystery series, set in fictional Scumble River, Illinois, by Denise Swanson. I will also review each book separately.

(Yes, I'm really looking forward to reading all those! --- and reviewing each. I'm trying not to go too quickly, because I'll be really sad when I'm done with the series. Of course, when that happens, I'll just start over anyway.)

So far, I've reviewed these Scumble River Mysteries on Hubpages:

(Listed in chronological order by date of publication.)

I First Traveled to Scumble River Via Murder of a Botoxed Blonde

I don't read fiction much, but when I do, I like it to be murder mysteries --- preferably cozy.

From the moment I picked up Murder of a Botoxed Blonde, --- the first Scumble River Mystery I ever read (though not the first in the series) I fell in love with Scumble River and with Skye.

Skye and her best friend, Trixie Frayne, get a chance to spend Thanksgiving weekend at the Scumble River Spa. Once they get there, they are joined by: a group of angry feminists; Skye's mom, (May); two student journalists from Scumble River High Gazette; Skye's brother's girlfriend, Loretta; Skye's (ex?) boyfriend's sister; and a few other locals.

Skye is not interested in spas anyway.

For one thing, Skye is chubby. That's a big plus (size) for me. I'm chubby myself. And, she lives in a small farming town in Illinois.

I was hooked.

A chubby lady detective, who is also a high school psychologist.

A farm town in the Midwest.

Botoxed Blonde - What a Scream!

Skye is hopping around in the hallway in an aluminum foil wrap, trying to find out what the hideous scream was. She had fallen asleep while wrapped in seaweed with aluminum foil on top. She was dreaming she was a Thanksgiving turkey roasting in the oven, possibly due to the hot lights beating down on the aluminum foil --- plus the fact that the masseuse had disappeared.

Skye is trying to find out what the horrible scream was.

Turns out the scream was --- her best friend, Trixie, getting a Brazilian "wax."

The food was so meager they had to smuggle in chips, pop and pizza.

The spa is in an old abandoned mansion at the edge of town.

Family Matters

  • May is Skye's mom;
  • Jed is Skye's dad; ---
  • Vince, a womanizing hairdresser, (definitely not gay) is Skye's brother; ---
  • Loretta is Skye's sorority sister from college, and possible future sister - in - law; ---
  • There's also her godfather, "Uncle" Charlie Patukis, the owner of the Up a Lazy River Motel.
  • Skye's uncle, Dante Leofanti --- May's brother --- is the mayor of Scumble River.

You'll fall in love --- uh, sort of --- with Skye's family. They might be a lot like your own family, except with better food, a farm and a concrete goose out front.

Except for that one aunt, in Murder of a Sweet Old Lady. Nobody would want her as a family member.

Then, there's the Doozier family: --- Earl, the patriarch; --- his brother, Elvis; --- Earl's wife, Glenda, plus several more. They provide some good-hearted comic relief. They also frequently inadvertently provide the key to solving the mystery.

Updated Family

Loretta and Vince eloped, but I'm not sure when, so Loretta is now actually Skye's sister-in-law. Not only that, but Vince and Loretta are expecting a new little one any day now, in #17,Murder of a Needled Knitter.

May is very anxious for that long-awaited grandbaby to get here. As of the end of Needled Knitter, she or he has not yet arrived, though. (Although perhaps Skye and Wally are pregnant --- unless that morning sickness is a red herring?)

I'm not sure when Trixie started writing a mystery book, but I just found out in Murder of a Needled Knitter --- which I have read but not yet finished reviewing.

Trixie is the high school librarian, so that makes sense.

Perhaps the the fictional Trixie Frayne is named for the fictional detective, Trixie Belden?

"Uncle" Charlie

There is more about "Uncle" Charlie in my review of Murder of a Small Town Honey here on Hubpages.

In that first book, the murder victim, Honey Adair, is the blood relative of "Uncle" Charlie, although Charlie does not know her very well. Charlie was Honey's only living relative.

Even though Charlie took Honey in during her senior year of high school --- after her parents died --- he was not too sad to see her leave. She was a disruptive force in Charlie's life.

Apparently she disrupted the entire high school, as well.

The disruption at high school eventually led to her murder.

More Reviews Are on the Way

I do plan to post reviews for each book in the series. I haven't even read them all yet.

But, on that sad day when I do finish the series --- which I hope will NOT be soon --- I want to just go back and start the series all over again. Perhaps in order.


Is Scumble River the Fountain of Youth?

The author has a little note at the front of Cherry, where she shares the Scumble River timeline. I don't know if this is the order in which she wrote them. I guess it must be. In any event, she explains that Scumble River time is a little behind regular time, so Scumble Riverites, “age more slowly”.

Another reason for me to go there!

Probably a lot of others, as well?

All Scumble Rivery Mysteries, in Chronological Order

Setting Date
Number in Series
Publication Date
Murder of a Small-Town Honey
August 2000
July 2000
Murder of a Sweet Old Lady
March 2001
April 2001
Not a Monster of a Chance
Takes place between books 2 and 3
From the anthology, And the Dying is Easy
Jun3 2001
Murder of a Sleeping Beauty
April 2002
April 2002
Murder of a Snake in the Grass
August 2002
April 2003
Murder of a Barbie and Ken
August 2002
November 2003
Murder of a Pink Elephant
February 2003
July 2004
Dead Blondes Tell no Tales
March 2003
From the Anthology, Drop Dead Blonde
February 2005
Murder of a Smart Cookie
June 203
July 2005
Murder of a Real Bad Boy
September 2003
August 2006
Murder of a Botoxed Blonde
Nobember 2003
April 2007
Murder of a Chocolate-Covered Cherry
April 2004
April 2008
Murder of a Royal Pain
October 2004
April 2009
Murder of a Wedding Belle
June 2005
April 2010
Murder of a Bookstore Babe
September 2005
March 2011
Murder of a Creped Suzette
October 2005
October 2011
Murder of the Cat's Meow
March 2006
September 2012
Murder of a Stacked Librarian
December 2006
September 2013
Murder of a Needled Knitter
January 2007
September 2014
I think this table would work better in "csv" format, which I have no clue about. I worked on this problem for a few weeks. I finally ended up just typing it into the "table" capsule on HP. It's not really proper yet. I'm not giving up, though. LOL

Free Preview - First Chapter of "Bookstore Babe" appears at the end of "Wedding Belle."

There's a free preview chapter of Murder of a Bookstore Babe at the end of Murder of a Wedding Belle. Each of the novels has a first chapter of the next one coming up.

That first chapter looks really good, and funny.

To find out more, go to my Hub that reviews Murder of a Wedding Belle. I include a little bit about that first chapter of Bookstore Babe.

So far, I've read Botoxed Blonde, Smart Cookie, Sweet Old Lady, Sleeping Beauty, Chocolate-Covered Cherry, Wedding Belle , and a couple whose names I'm not sure of. I'll review each in a separate hub. I'll have to first re-read the ones whose names I'm not sure of --- it was so long ago.

I'm always looking for an excuse to re-read a Scumble River Mystery.

A Scumble River Ghost Story? Maybe, or . . . ?

Not a Monster of a Chance (Scumble River Mysteries)
Not a Monster of a Chance (Scumble River Mysteries)

This story is not a full novel, like the others.

This extremely brief story takes place between the time of mysteries number two -- *Murder of a Sweet Old Lady* --- and number three --- *Murder of a Sleeping Beauty.*

Skye was the lifeguard at the beach for one summer. According to the table, above, that summer must have been in 2001, because *Murder of a Sweet Old Lady* takes place in March of 2001, and *Murder of a Sleeping Beauty* takes place in April of 2002.

It's very brief, and very fun, and it does not depend on any of the other stories.


Now that I've Mentioned It . . .

. . . this reminds me --- I also have another book review of a murder mystery that revolves around Halloween --- from a different, but also very good, series. The book is called Decaffeinated Corpse, and is part of the Coffee House Mystery series, by Cleo Coyle.

The Coffeehouse Mystery series is, in some ways, a Greenwich Village version of the Scumble River Mysteries. A smart, funny amateur sleuth who is surrounded by friends and relatives and others who love her. Yet, she's a little bit sarcastic and critical. And, slightly misunderstood --- even by those who care the most. Also, a boyfriend who is a cop. And, a very odd love triangle.

Or, is it a trapezoid?

You decide


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    • Huntgoddess profile image

      Huntgoddess 3 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      Thanks so much, Merrci.

      Yes, it is a very fun series. I am looking forward to finishing them all, but alas ! ---- Life.

      I will as soon as I can, though. Thanks for reading my Hub, and thanks for stopping by.

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Sounds like a fun series Huntgoddess! Definitely adding book 1 to my wish list!

    • Huntgoddess profile image

      Huntgoddess 4 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      It's quite an honor, Denise. I know I can't really do them justice, though.

      I still enjoy reading and reviewing them.

    • profile image

      Denise Swanson 4 years ago

      Thanks so much for featuring my books.

    • Huntgoddess profile image

      Huntgoddess 5 years ago from Midwest U.S.A.

      Yes, we do get involved with them. That's why the books are such a great escape, I think.

      Thanks for reading my Hub, Nell --- and for commenting. I'd say the series is definitely worth a try.

      Take care, dear Nell.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      Hi, I love the sound of these characters, isn't it strange how we get so involved with them they become real? I really must check them out, thanks!