Friday, August 30, 2019

Review: Mulberry Mischief by Sharon Farrow

Mulberry Mischief (A Berry Basket Mystery, Book #4)
by Sharon Farrow
Release Date: August 27th 2019
2019 Kensington
Kindle Edition; 352 Pages
ISBN: 978-1496722614
Genre: Fiction / Cozy Mystery
Source: Review copy from Great Escapes Book Tours

4.5 / 5 Stars

With the Harvest Health Fair in full swing, Marlee makes sure to stock up on elderberry products for cold and flu season. But this year there's also a run on mulberry when an eccentric customer wants to use the dried berries to ward off evil forces. True, it's almost Halloween, but something else seems to be spooking Leticia the Lake Lady, Oriole Point's oddest resident. She believes someone plans to kill her—and the ghost. Only mulberries can protect them. Marlee doesn't take her fears seriously until a man named Felix Bonaventure arrives in the village, asking questions about a mysterious woman.

The next day, Marlee finds Bonaventure dead on Leticia's property—shot through the heart with an arrow made of mulberry wood. And Leticia has disappeared. Marlee soon learns the Lake Lady has a deadly past that is connected to the famous Sable family who are in town for the health fair. A bunch of clues start to come together—and figuring out what's going on puts Marlee in a real jam …

My Thoughts
Mulberry Mischief is the fourth entry in the A Berry Basket Mystery series and is a very enjoyable read.  There is a delightful group of characters, each with their own personality quirks, which makes the story fun and interesting.  The author likes to set her books around events, so in this one, the story line is centered around the Haunted Halloween Harvest Health Fair, a dichotomy to be sure.  As I love stories about Halloween, the concept definitely piqued my interest.

Marlee is a lovable heroine, always looking out for others, but because of this often becomes someone whom others can trust with their secrets, some of which become dangerous.  Leticia the Lake Lady, an eccentric resident, believes that someone is trying to hurt her and subsequently confides this information to Marlee.  I really like how the author gets Marlee involved without making her seem like a busybody or becoming really annoying, it just seems to happen naturally.  I think this is one of the things that makes these books so enjoyable.  Marlee naturally becomes involved because she cares about people so when Leticia goes missing after Marlee discovers a body, her caring nature leads her to look for Leticia simply because she's worried about her.  Furthermore, there is a whole host of charming characters surrounding Marlee that makes the story rather interesting. I have developed a fondness for Old Man Bowman who insisted that Big Foot was the menace; and I have to say, his scene at the end of the novel was rather a hoot.  

The story line turned out to be rather more involved than I expected, and although I didn't figure out who did the actually killing, the sad story behind Leticia's fear was a fairly predictable one.  What I liked though, was how the author unveiled the story line, bit by bit. I read a LOT of mystery novels so I was able to guess the events, but I'm not sure if it was that easy for everyone. Despite this, I thought the author did a fantastic job balancing the murders with Marlee's life and life in this Michigan town.   I especially like learning about the different things happening in small towns and the day-to-day life happenings rather than just mystery, mystery, mystery.  And things just seem to happen naturally with Marlee which is how she discovers information.  I would think that it takes a lot of planning for an author to be able to do that in a book.

Mulberry Mischief is another great entry in a fantastic series.  The characters, the plot line, the mystery, and the everyday events make this a very enjoyable read.  And I am really glad the author does not give away too much from previous books either in case readers have not read them.  And while this could be read as a standalone, I do recommend they are read in order just to get background information on the other characters.  Besides, I love learning about the different berries in these books.  Thousands of different strawberries? Who knew. Very interesting information and great recipes included. I am already looking forward to the next book in this series.