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    Bees, honey recipes, great lead character

    Abby Mackenzie is an interesting character and one I look forward to following. No longer on the Las Flores CA police force, Abby's farmette is producing specialty honey that she sells to local chef Jean-Louise Bonheur. When Abby finds the chef dead her investigative instincts kick in. Taking the case to prove the chef was murdered, Abby spends time with Phiippe Bonheur whose good looks and French manners have Abby's romance senses humming. Almanac facts on bees and recipes using honey are bonus features of each chapter. Basic bee keeping is interesting but not something I'd want to spend a lot of time learning more about.
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    Murder in Northern California

    I read a lot of cozy mysteries but this one was not one of my favorites. I figured out the mystery very early on so there was not a lot of suspense for me. Since I already knew who the killer was the book moved slowly for me. I did not really warm up to the main characters. There were not a lot interconnecting relationships in this book. There were quite a few dropped story lines as well. Hopefully that will change in later books. The author does do a good job with the Bee hints and recipes at the end of every chapter. With a combination of a very weak mystery and not really likable characters this cozy missed the mark for me. I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review
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    A Good Beeginning (get it)!

    A Beeline to Murder by Meera Lester is the first book in A Henny Penny Farmette Mystery series. Abigail Mackenzie is thirty-seven years old and is hard at work on her farmette (a small residential farm). She supplements her income by being a private investigator (helping the local DA with cases). Abby also has honey bees and sells honey. Her best customer is Chef Jean-Louis Bonheur and his pastry shop. When Abby arrives to deliver his lavender honey, no one answers. She discovers Chef Jean-Louis dead in the kitchen. It looks like he was strangled. Abby immediately calls the police. Abby was a police officer for seven years until her hand was injured (her thumb is not consistently stable which means she cannot shoot a gun). Her friend, Officer Katerina “Kat” Petrovky is the officer assigned the case (Abby is thankful that Chief Bob Allen did not show up). The preliminary investigation concludes it was suicide. The victim’s brother, Philippe Bonheur does not believe it. He knows that his brother would never kills himself and even had a trip to the Caribbean planned for his birthday. Philippe hires Abby to investigate the crime and prove it was murder. Abby investigates the crime with Philippe’s help in between taking care of her chickens, swarming bees (moving to a new location), handling Sugar (Chef Jean-Louis’ dog), and planting appropriate plants for her bees. Abby can really use the money from the case to help fix up her house (which needs work). Will Abby be able to prove Chef Jean-Louis was murdered? Who wanted Chef Jean-Louis dead? I enjoyed reading A Beeline to Murder. It is a cute cozy mystery with the lovely setting of Las Flores, California. Abby Mackenzie is a likeable main character, but I wish we were given more information about her. The information we are given is given out in little bits throughout the story (which I found frustrating). We are not given a lot of information about the other characters in the book (I do know that Philippe is extremely handsome as it was mentioned several times). I think the characters just need to be fleshed out a little bit (given life). The author provided good clues to the mystery and provided a little twist at the end. I found the person responsible for the crime to be obvious, but that could just be me (I picked out the person responsible not long after the character was introduced). Overall, it is a good first book. I will definitely read the next book in the series. The one thing I did not like was that the crime happened almost immediately at the beginning of the story. I think we needed a little more of an introduction before we get to the dead person. I give A Beeline to Murder 4 out of 5 stars. The books does provide some great tips on taking care of bees, making good honey, and the right type of fauna to plant for bees (makes me wish I was not allergic to them). I received a complimentary copy of A Beeline to Murder from NetGalley (and the publisher) in exchange for an honest review.
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    Engaging read, with a nicely thought out mystery

    Bees are a rather interesting insect. They have had some interesting cameo's in various movies, everything from Fried Green Tomatoes to Sherlock Holmes. There are several idioms involving bees: bee in you bonnet, busy as a bee, Queen Bee, even the bee's knees. And let's not even get started on the various and sundry uses for the products that bee's produce - honey and beeswax. Seeing a book that showcased them tempted me to add this to my book stack. Abby is a former police officer who had to leave her profession when she damaged her thumb. Being unable to cock a gun quickly and efficiently is unfortunately, a necessary requirement of the job. However since she has become a farmer, raising bees, chickens and heirloom vegetables, her life has had new meaning. Plus she still keeps her hand in, doing the odd investigation for the DA's office. She doesn't expect to end up spear heading a murder investigation when she finds her client, Jean-Louis dead. The coroner ruled the death a suicide, but too many things didn't add up for Abby and then Jean-Louis's brother shows up requesting her help in finding out the truth. The start of every chapter has an excerpt from the Henny Penny Farmette Almanac, most concerning bees, and ends with either a gardening tip or recipe concerning something mentioned in that chapter. This was an engaging read, giving us a realistic look at the day to day life of a farmer, even a small one. The mystery was nicely thought out and though I thought I had figured out the whodunit, I wasn't sure of the how and why until the end. There was no cliffhanger, but a nice set up for future books with an eye towards a possible romance in the distant future. I had a good time with this book and gave it 3 stars. Thank you to Netgalley, Kensington, and Great Escapes for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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