Thursday, January 16, 2020

Book Review and Giveaway - Hems and Homicide (Apron Shop #1) by Elizabeth Penney

Book Synopsis
Welcome to the first in the Apron Shop mystery series by Elizabeth Penney, set in the quaint village of Blueberry Cove, Maine where an expert seamstress turned amateur sleuth is getting measured for murder. . . 

Iris Buckley is sew ready for a change. After the death of her beloved grandfather, Iris decides to stay in her Maine hometown to help out her widowed grandmother, Anne—and bring her online hand-made apron designs to real-time retail life. Her and Anne’s shop, Ruffles & Bows, is set to include all the latest and vintage linen fashions, a studio for sewing groups and classes, and a friendly orange cat. The only thing that they were not planning to have on the property? A skeleton in the basement 

Anne recognizes the remains of an old friend, and when a second body shows up in the apron shop—this time their corrupt landlord, whom Anne had been feuding with for decades—she becomes a prime suspect. Now, it’s up to Iris to help clear her name. Enlisting the help of her old high-school crush Ian Stewart who, like certain fabrics, has only gotten better-looking with age and her plucky BFF Madison Morris, Iris must piece together an investigation to find out who the real killer is. . .and find a way to keep her brand-new business from being scrapped in the process.

My Review
Hems and Homicide is a cozy mystery featuring Iris Buckley.  Iris has returned to her hometown in Maine to open a handmade and vintage apron shop with her grandmother Anne.  When they are getting the shop ready, Iris discovers a skeleton in the basement.  After her grandmother is investigated as a suspect, she becomes involved searching for the killer.

I wanted to read this mystery from the very first mention because it involves aprons.  I love them and have even blogged about my vintage apron collection before!  I really loved the details in this book dealing with aprons, vintage linens (something else I enjoy), and sewing.

Although this mystery takes place in the present day, there is a lot of the victim's personal history in the early 1970's.  I enjoyed the flashback details to the 1970's (which included Iris's grandmother and her past) and felt they added a lot to the book.  As a result of the flashbacks, there is a very large cast of characters in this book.  I wish there had been a list of characters as it would have made it easier to sort them out the first few chapters.
The mystery aspect of the story was so well written and paced and kept me guessing until a chapter or so before the killer was revealed.  Iris makes a great amateur sleuth and I enjoyed her detection process.  I thought it was neat that she even included historical research at the library as part of her personal investigation.

I liked Iris as a protagonist and enjoyed her relationship with her grandmother, her friends, and her cat Quincy.  I also liked the beginnings of a possible relationship with her old crush, Ian, who is doing some work on the shop.

I read a lot of cozy mysteries and felt that Hems and Homicide is really a stand out as a first mystery in a series.  It definitely made me want to read more!  As soon as I finished I went to Goodreads to see when a second book will be available.  I recommend this book for fans of cozy mysteries, small town settings, cats, and vintage/handmade linens.  I know you will enjoy the read as much as I did!

Author Bio
Elizabeth Penney is an author, entrepreneur, and local food advocate living in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. In addition to writing full-time, she operates a small farm. Elements that often appear in her novels include vintage summer cottages, past/present mysteries, and the arts. She is represented by the fabulous Elizabeth Bewley at Sterling Lord Literistic.

Elizabeth’s writing credits include over twenty mysteries, short stories, and hundreds of business articles. A former consultant and nonprofit executive, she holds a BS and an MBA. She’s also written screenplays with her musician husband.

She loves walking in the woods, kayaking on quiet ponds, trying new recipes, and feeding family and friends.

Author Links
Twitter: @liz2penney

Purchase Links  – Amazon  Barnes & Noble   IndieBound

a Rafflecopter giveaway