Monday, October 5, 2015

Ann Gabhart's "Murder at the Courthouse" - a small town cozy mystery

Cover ArtHidden Springs: a quiet, small town where nothing dangerous or exciting ever happens, just like Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane likes it. Except when an unknown body appears on the courthouse steps, with no way it could be anything but a murder. Suddenly Michael has to track down a murderer in a town where everyone has a theory but no one actually knows anything. And an unexpected discovery leads him to believe that there are dark secrets hidden beneath the surface of Hidden Springs that he never suspected . . .

I really like Michael. He's not the traditional cozy mystery sleuth that's more witty and clever than everyone else. Instead, he's a hometown guy - quiet, but with a quiet that comes with the peace of knowing he's where he belongs. He's not puffed up, looking to be the top man in the force; he knows that he can make in difference in the position he's in, and he doesn't need more. And it's clear that even when dealing with people he doesn't like, he tries to maintain peace, even if the only way is to just walk away. But he's not afraid to put his foot down when he has to.

What really made the book for me was that though there's humor in the story (and the opening scene was brilliant), there's gravity too. Murder never is, was, or will be right, and it should not be treated with levity. And to find that someone you knew and trusted is guilty of it, that's hard. Painful. Wounding. Finding that balance between humor and gravity is tricky in a murder mystery, but the author does a good job with it.

I quite enjoyed the introduction to Hidden Springs, with all its small-town quaintness, nosiness, and secrets. I look forward to what's ahead for Michael!

Thank you Revell for providing a free book to review. I was not required to make the review positive, and all opinions are my own.

**And I am pleased to note, I guessed the correct murderer from the very beginning! Not that I had much to base it on, but maybe by rereading the book I could actually find evidence to support my successful hunch.

Hidden Springs Mysteries 
1. Murder at the Courthouse
2. Murder Comes by Mail

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