From the back of the book:
“Abby has been dating Marco — ex-cop, bartender, and all-around hunk — for several months when the Pickle Fest starts. But he’s still a mystery to her. And after he disappears for a day, she’s stunned to read in the paper: EX-COP QUESTIONED IN MAN’S DEATH. It seems the authorities have found Snuggles the Clown pushing up water-spurting daisies — and Marco was the last person seen leaving Snuggle’s house. Abby knows in her bones that he’s innocent. But why, when his life is on the line, is Marco being so secretive with her? And who is the attractive woman he escorted to the Pickle Fest? To do the legwork, she’ll have to delve into the eerie clown underworld, where smiles are fake and everyone has a trick up his sleeve . . .”
This series is one of my “reward” series. As a librarian, I often read books that I have assigned myself to read because I want to check them out for my students or because they have been sent to me for review. Lately, I’ve been feeling rather overwhelmed with all of my assigned reading which has taken away some of the joy of reading. When that happens, I reward myself with a book from a favorite series/author. The Flower Shop Mysteries is one of those series.
Like many mystery series this one follows a pattern. In this case Abby gets into trouble, gets jealous over Marco, flirts with Greg in order to pump him for information, pokes her nose into places it doesn’t belong, is scolded by Grace for her behavior, and ends up in peril just before stumbling upon the solution to the mystery. For me this is a pattern that works. Reading this series is like treating yourself to a meal of all your favorite comfort foods.
What I liked about this book: I like the cast of characters. They all play well off of each other. Abby’s mom is a little frustrating, but she provides quite a bit of comic relief. I enjoyed meeting Marco’s mother and I’m looking forward to reading more about her. The pacing is nice and even, much like Baby Bear’s porridge – just right. I also liked that though the book does follow a pattern, I was still taken by surprise by the solution. I pride myself on being able to find the solution before the sleuth does, but I also like to be taken by surprise, so long as the solution fits. This one does.
What I didn’t like about this book: Some of the suspects were rather creepy: the baker who looks like Mrs. Claus and lisps and the victim’s crazy neighbor. The victim himself was rather creepy. Clowns often are. Even though these were aspects I didn’t particularly care for – they didn’t take away from the story.
If you enjoyed the other books in this series, you will enjoy this installment. If you’ve just discovered this series and are worried about reading them out of order, don’t. While, I generally like to read a series in order it is not strictly necessary with this series.