The Art & Craft of Murder: Cozy Cat Parker

Whistler’s Cove is an artists’ town. Sculptors, painters, & crafts people of all kinds find their materials & inspirations on the beach. To increase tourism & provide an income, their pieces are displayed & sold at the town’s only gallery. Unfortunately, the gallery is owned & operated by Hilary Short, an abrasive & selfish woman.

Hilary decides, singlehandedly, who’s work is displayed & the amount of commission she earns for herself. With the tourist season beginning, Hilary delivers a new set of rules to the residents. Her commission is increased & she begins removing artist’s work when they protest. Most of them will have to create twice the pieces to earn the same money. As if this isn’t enough chaos for the small town, a group of retired gentlemen has decided that they’d all like to date Hilary.

Daily fights erupt in Misty’s teahouse, a local hot spot. Misty tries to keep things running smoothly. She hears the gossip & worries for her friends. Things hit close to home for her when Hilary collapses & dies in the middle of the teahouse. The only ones saddened by her departure are her suitors. With an entire town full of suspects, every one had a motive. But, being that she died in her establishment, Misty takes it upon herself to begin her own investigation. So who killed Hilary?

Cozy Mysteries pack a lot of book into novella space. ‘Art & Craft’ is no exception. It is the first installment in the series. The characters & conflict were well done. It just seemed to be missing a spark. It’s a decent read without any obvious flaws. I suppose it was just that it didn’t capture my attention & hold on. I was looking for a ‘wow’ factor that simply wasn’t there.

As for the mystery aspect, it made sense & being that every resident was a potential suspect, readers may have to think a bit before solving the crime. Misty is good as a heroine although she takes way too many risks & doesn’t depend nearly enough on law enforcement. I would consider reading more in the series. But, this first installment is 3 stars.

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