Mackenzie Almeida runs Mac’s Bikes in the small seaside village of Westham, MA where she is kept busy with bicycle repairs and rentals. She usually has help from her half-brother Derrick and a couple of other people, but they are suddenly proving unreliable. Things only get worse when the local handyman meets with an accident, if once can call being stabbed to death with a fishing knife an accident. The local police certainly don’t, and they find Mac a suspicious character because she argued with Jake not long before. Mac doesn’t really have any fears they’ll try to pin the murder on her. . . but that fishing knife looks very much like one owned by her brother Derrick.
And Derrick has disappeared.
This is the first in the Cozy Capers Book Group Mystery series. As with a lot of “first in series” books, a lot of ink is spent introducing characters, the layout of the town, Mac’s pet parrot, her baker boyfriend, etc. Also as is the case with many cozy mysteries, a colorful cast is required so Mac’s father is a minister from Cape Verde, her mother is an astrologer, and the police detective is half Wampanoag. Brother Derrick is a recovering alcoholic with a young daughter and Mac’s beau is a hunky baker. As the subtitle suggests, Mac is a member of a book group and they decide they will solve the mystery.
Day writes well and her characters are enjoyable. The plot—well, while the murder investigation goes on, the plot is more concerned with introducing characters and their problems. The solution is interesting but comes via info drops tucked in at the end rather that sprinkled throughout the story. As my tastes run more to the “fair play” mysteries where the reader has enough clues to solve it, I was disappointed. Those looking primarily for a nice visit with likeable characters will find this book to be a treat.
The second book in the series, Murder at the Taffy Shop is due out in March 2021. Day also writes the “Country Store Mystery Series” set in Indiana. (The last piece of information is relevant because I have a friend from Indiana who was interested to see there was a cozy mystery set there.)
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