Mountain Murder Mystery, by Benjamin Dahlbeck
Publisher: DSP Publications
Release Date: January 12, 2016
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Buy Link: Publisher
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
The Severn family—Jeff and his wife Phyllis, Lynette and her new fiancé, and single Andy—has gathered at the mountain home of their grandmother, Mary Agnes Severn, to celebrate Thanksgiving and hear an announcement regarding their late grandfather’s will. With news of an escaped convict in the hills, everyone is barely settled in before a huge snowstorm strands them in the large old house with only gas lamps and lanterns to keep the darkness away.
Local sheriff Roger Dickerson arrives to check on the family and seek shelter from the storm. Sparks fly between him and Andy as long-held passions bubble just under the surface, but before they can address them, Mary Agnes’s three servants are murdered one by one. Who is the murderer? Is it the escaped convict? Is it someone in the house? Everyone has a motive, and everyone has the means. What’s going on between Andy and Marcus the handyman? What’s going on between Phyllis and Marcus? Is there something going on between Roger and Marcus? It’s (snow)bound to be a wild week of murder, mystery, and mayhem!
An intriguing murder-mystery set in the mountains during Thanksgiving, with a lovely little background romance to help lighten the plot.
This novel did not start off on the right foot for me. It was confusing, disjointed, and Mary Agnes, the matriarch of the Severn family, is equally bewildering and distasteful. But once the plot finally gets underway (at the 1/3 mark), things finally start to get interesting, and I was able to sit back and enjoy the novel.
I love a good mystery, and I’ll admit that this one threw me off the scent a few times. I definitely had my suspicions about whodunit, but Dahlbeck did a great job of keeping things in the air.
There is a tiny romance weaved in there, with Andy Severn. It’s definitely tucked in the background, but I thought it was very sweet!
To be honest, if Mary Agnes hadn’t been in this novel, I probably would have enjoyed it a lot more. She’s just not a likeable character. She’s bizarre (she has portraits of Elizabeth I and Mary, Queen of Scots on her wall… in 21st century America), has zero grasp on modern culture (she calls Brittany Spears “Normandy Pikes” and smashes any cellphone she spots with a giant hammer), and she’s just plain ridiculous (see also, people being murdered in her living room and she’s more concerned about who’s cooking Thanksgiving dinner.)
Also, I could have done without the three page tangent about Weather Channel anchors and how hot they are. Just… what?
Like I said, make it to the 33% mark and things pick up significantly. But the first part of the novel was one eyebrow-raising “WTF” moment after another.