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    Second Welcome Back to Scumble River series

    Die Me A River by Denise Swanson is the second installment in Welcome Back to Scumble River series. Skye Denison-Boyd is on maternity leave after giving birth to twins. It has been three months since tornadoes rocked the area and destroyed their home. Wally, Skye and the twins have been staying in a luxury RV in their driveway while a new home is being built. They are preparing for the twins christening as well as the party afterward. If only Wally and Skye could agree on names for their babies (it has only been five weeks). Skye and Wally are meeting with Father Burns to go over the baptism when they hear a loud boom and the building quakes. The explosion came from Bunny Lanes, the local bowling alley run by Bunny Reid. She had recently renovated the facility and added video gambling machines to the bar. While the bowling alley had been closed for the day, the firefighters find the body of Paige Myler inside. Paige was a representative for Homestead Insurance who insured many of the citizens in Scumble River, and she had been denying their claims which had upset the policy owners. Wally must first figure out if the gambling machines, Bunny or Paige were the bombers target and then he can start assembling a list of suspects. He must also deal with a home under construction, a fairy godmother running around town, the christening, the party, newborn twins, an understaffed police department and a hormonal wife. Skye, though, is always eager to help Wally with his cases and it does give them time together. Come along to Scumble River where you will be welcomed with open arms and your secrets will spread faster than you can say Die Me a River. Die Me A River may be the second book in the Welcome Back to Scumble River series, but it is a continuation of A Scumble River Mystery series. If you are new to this series of books, begin with Dead in the Water. If you are up for a challenge, pick up Murder of a Small-Town Honey (go all the way back to the beginning). I thought Die Me A River was easy to read with eccentric characters and a quirky small town. Denise Swanson has an engaging writing style that draws the reader into the Scumble River world. It can be hard, though, to keep track of the all extraneous characters especially in the beginning. Skye has an extended family and many close friends along with co-workers, Wally’s family, Wally’s co-workers, the townspeople (you get the picture). There is plenty of humor in the story as Skye learns to deal with the twins, Carson’s new girlfriend (and how they learn who it is will have you chuckling), the fairy godmother (her outfit alone will cause you to snicker), May’s over-the-top plans for the party, and the incident at the party are just a few examples. While Die Me A River has a delightful homey feel to it, the mystery was lacking. There is misdirection as the author tries to steer readers away from the real killer, but there are a limited number of suspects. Readers will have no problem solving this whodunit. I would like to suggest the author consider Homer as a victim in a future story (he is an obnoxious ignoramus). I could have done with fewer lovey dovey moments between Wally and Skye (they are sweet, but this is not a romance novel), references to Skye’s weight (which is normal after having a baby), and less focus on how much money Carson has at his disposable (and is spending on Wally, Skye and the babies). I am glad that the new parents are trying to eliminate vulgar swear words from their vocabulary (I dislike seeing them in my cozy mysteries), and they are coming up with some creative alternatives. It was lovely to finally find out the names that Skye and Wally had picked out for the twins. Die Me A River is an enticing cozy mystery with peculiar characters and an appealing small town.

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