Award Winning Fantasy with a Twist!

A Tale of Two Cabins

The end of the year is also the end of the semester, so when I picked up a new cozy mystery by Diane Kelly, I thought I’d bought it twice. The setting of a cabin in the woods sounded familiar. Then I thought maybe this was a new trend, everyone moving to mountain cabins, a kind of universal reaction to the last year. But no, I hadn’t confused two writers, just two new books.

The first is The Moonshine Shack Murder set in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Hattie Hayes is happily opening a store selling her family’s moonshine recipes updated to the young and hip crowd, at least until the bar owner across the street turns up dead on her doorstep. Oh, the problems of the small businesswoman! Then there’s the woman cop who is not into solidarity, though fortunately the local mounted policeman is both intrigued and intriguing.

I was a little uncertain about the premise of this series as my knowledge of moonshine is limited to  admittedly dodgy TV and movie portrayals. But a quick search on Google shows that these high-proof spirits are becoming quite high-end. It’s a funny contrast for a heroine who wears overalls and hangs out on porch rockers with her feisty, whittling grandpa!

Diane’s second book is Getaway with Murder. This time the heroine is an older woman, newly empty nesting and unconsciously coupling. But her challenges aren’t an amicable ex, not even the horrors of remodeling, but probably the most obnoxious hotel guest possible. The lady yogi leading a retreat at Misty’s new lodge was pretty much destined to end up a corpse in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina!

The older woman starting a second life is an interesting choice as opposed to the more common younger heroine. There’s still a love interest, but it’s cautious. Kelly does a good job on bringing in the older adult’s perspective – the need to keep up with family, the challenge of meeting new people, the need for a good massage tempering the excitement of opening a new lodge. Okay, that last may be a universal need.

Kelly’s created fun, robust characters from IRS Agent Tara Holloway to Police Officer Megan Luz and her loyal K-9 partner Brigit, and these two ladies from the mountains seem like they could grow to be the same. They’re off to a good start in these two new launches. There are two books because two different publishers, which is great news cause now I’ve got two, not just one, auto-buys to look forward to!

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