After an on-air gaffe goes viral and jeopardizes her career, journalist Desiree Turner retreats home to Verbena, California for some peace and quiet. She begins working one of the quietest jobs around: presiding over funerals for her great-grandfather’s funeral parlor. But the action seems to follow her as a fist fight breaks out between neighbors Rosemarie Brewer and Lola Hansen at one of the first funerals she’s in charge of running. It exposes a nasty dispute and Rosemarie’s husband, Alan, is found murdered shortly after.
Lola’s husband, Kyle, is immediately arrested. Desiree, whose own father’s death was devastating, has always viewed Kyle as a second father. Determined to clear his name, Desiree jumps head first into the investigation and quickly discovers that Alan had several unsavory habits at his job and in his personal life, including putting assets into his mistress’s account to hide them from Rosemarie. People murder for money and love all the time, and there’s no telling who he offended just enough to push them over the edge.
Desiree is looking in all the right places, but she better catch the killer fast before they come for her next in A Grave Issue, the clever series debut by Lillian Bell.
Ms. Bell has gotten off to a very good start with this new series, featuring Deisree, an on air news reporter who got caught with a hot mic on. With the added stress of her father presumed dead over a year ago when he went out to surf and never returned. And a pregnant sister who has been placed on strict bed rest.
So Desiree heads home to Verbena to lick her wounds and figure out what she is going to do next. It looks as if bad luck has trailed her home however when one thing after another keeps her name in the paper.
This is a very clever cozy mystery! Part serious, part funny and pretty much exactly what I like in a story. A smart, tenacious, independent woman and a bunch of people keeping secrets, which we all know never stay hidden, especially when Desiree starts pulling on threads. People get a tad touchy! Or dead.
Underneath the story is the tale what really happened to her dad? Who is leaving mysterious gifts for Desiree and her sister? So there is a good bit of layering to this series and I like it.
Well Done Ms. Bell!
Netgalley/CrookedLaneBooks February 13, 2018
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