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BUZZ OFF: QUEEN BEE MYSTERIES, BOOK 1


By Hannah Reed

Berkeley, 2010 ($7.99)
ISBN-10: 0-425-23642-0
ISBN-13: 978-0-425-23642-0

Kindle Edition: $7.99

Reviewed by Katherine Petersen

Cozies by the dozens related to food have been coming out of the woodwork and Hannah Reed kicks off a honey-oriented series with BUZZ OFF. Story Fischer is celebrating honey month and the finalization of her divorce at her store, The Wild Clover, when she receives news of the death of her bee-keeping mentor, Manny Chapman. But after visiting the scene, she knows it was wasps, not his beloved bees that killed him. Story knows her dreams of her own bee-keeping operation have died along with Manny unless she can uncover the real murderer. The town has other ideas though and plans to run her own bees to ground. She adds another mystery to Manny's death when the woman her ex has been seeing turns up dead in her own kayak, and she needs to work fast if she's to avoid getting thrown in jail herself. She has long butted heads with the chief of police but does find help and maybe more from Deputy Hunter Wallace.

Hannah Reed has written an interesting, if not amazing, beginning to a new series and includes tips on bee keeping and recipes, some of which look pretty good, for honey at the end of the book. These characters didn't come to life for me, however, and a couple quirks niggled to no end. Story's sister, Holly, speaks in text speak for the most part, and Story lists everything in bullet points. While some might find this cute, I found it annoying. The author threw out a number of options for murderer, but I had a pretty good idea who was behind the murders at the halfway point although I hadn't quite reasoned it all out. The plot seems a bit disjointed although I was definitely more interested during the last five or six chapters. Nonetheless, fans of cozy mysteries might want to check it out, and I might check out book 2 to see if things have improved in Moraine, Wisconsin.

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