Looking for a fun, light read that is part Beatrix Potter, part Twin Peaks, with just a little bit of Midsomer Murders thrown in? Then Shady Hollow, by Juneau Black, is right up your alley!
A murder investigation casts a dark shadow on the sleepy little town of Shady Hollow, and nearly everyone is a suspect. Otto Stumpf, the local curmudgeonly toad, has been found dead in the river. Vera Vixen, reporter for the town’s newspaper, is on the case. Vera is quick and cunning, and she is able to track down leads even more quickly than the local police force. Not to her surprise, the murder has brought some of the townspeople’s secrets to light – secrets that many of them would like to remain hidden. As Vera follows the clues on the killer’s trail and comes closer to discovering the culprit’s identity, things start becoming dangerous. Someone wants her dead, and she’s sure it’s connected to the murder. Undaunted, she presses on, eager to get tot he bottom of the story, no matter what it takes.
The novel is a light, cozy mystery with a bit of fantasy, even though things become darker as the tale progresses. The revelation of the murderer completely caught me off guard. The author did an excellent job of bringing other suspects to the reader’s attention, and the twists and turns of the plot led to a thrilling and satisfactory conclusion. I expect that there will be other books, as it is a very promising beginning to a fantastical cozy mystery series.
Shady Hollow is perfectly safe for younger readers, though adults will enjoy it as well, just as I did.
I received an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.