Hounds, Harvest, and Homicide : A Pooch Party Cozy Mystery by Carolyn Ridder Aspenson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I really like this new cozy mystery series from Carolyn Ridder Aspenson. In my opinion, it’s more than a cozy mystery. It has the things you associate with cozy mysteries, the good people, small town feeling, animals, (a lovely mix), and of a good mystery. But then the author goes further. The animals come from the shelter that is a huge part of the main character’s life. It’s not just background noise. You learn a lot about shelter life and the pets up for adoption. You may think it’s a distraction in a mystery. You would be mistaken. Ms. Aspenson handles well the tricky balance. It’s not the only thing the author expertly handles in this series. Missy, the main character, is grieving the loss of her husband, Sam. It has been awhile since his death, (if there is one truth in life, it is grief has no time limit and no easy path), and some feel Missy should start dating. This isn’t something Missy can move fast on. I’m happy it isn’t. The reason for it? The author is real about grief. Using Missy she tells us the things no one really talks about, which makes it feel like we are doing grief wrong. The loneliness after the “acceptable“ grief time. The shattered dreams, the pain, the bittersweet memories. The way the world keeps going when your heart stops. It might sound depressing but Ms Aspenson has a magic touch with it. She keeps it real yet she doesn’t drown us in it. Death and grief are a big part of life. She acknowledges that and allows us to see that whatever we are feeling, how ever long it takes, it is normal. We are normal. I really appreciate this message. I appreciate this honest approach to grief. It truly isn’t depressing. Missy is a functioning person. She is intelligent, funny, caring, kind, animal lover, good mother and good friend. There is even someone who may, or may not, turn into a love interest. Ms Aspenson’s willingness to bring out and deal with realistic parts of life makes this cozy mystery a unique and don’t miss series. You could read this book on its own.The mystery is complete. But I recommend starting with the first book, Pooches, Pumpkins and Poison. You are going to get attached to Missy, Hayden, (her daughter), and the shelter. Do yourself the favor and get both books. You won’t be sorry, I promise.
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