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Murder of a Small-Town Honey (A Scumble River Mystery #1)

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  2,476 Ratings  ·  155 Reviews
When school psychologist Skye Denison left Scumble River after high school, she swore she would never return to such a small minded town. But when credit card and boyfriend trouble caused her to slink home, she tries to blend in unnoticed. However inconspicuous has never been one of Skyes attributes, as the small-town busybodies try to bring her out in the public eye whene ...more
Paperback, 238 pages
Published July 1st 2000 by Signet
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The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall SmithCrocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth PetersThe Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha ChristieChocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne FlukeA is for Alibi by Sue Grafton
Cozy Mystery Series
69th out of 741 books — 1,839 voters
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Best Cozy Mystery Series
152nd out of 1,464 books — 1,506 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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David Peters
Mar 02, 2011 David Peters rated it liked it
Don't read the author biography prior to reading the book. If you do then you realize a lot of the heroine is autobiographical; and then at least for me it becomes hard to look past the pretentious, self-indulgent portrayal that is supposed to pass off as charm.

The heroine is constantly shown to be smarter than everyone else, and ALWAYS know just the right thing to say to put everyone in their place. You know when you have an argument with someone and then like ten minutes later in the car you t
May 03, 2012 Shannon rated it it was ok
Shelves: mysteries
I expected to like this series a lot, but the first book really disappointed me. It wasn't funny, I disliked the main character, and I groaned when someone was identified as a "born-again Christian" who quotes Scripture on a first date, knowing immediately that person would likely be a hypocrite, if not the killer. (Why is it okay to negatively stereotype Christians but no one else?) Not to mention that some details of the plot bugged me. For example, the detective didn't ask any of the question ...more
Apr 20, 2016 Mary rated it really liked it
Well I found a new town to hang out in. I am leaving Fort Connor, Colorado, for awhile with the knitters and travelling to Scumble River. Skye Denison is a returning school psychologist to her
home town. Where she will be taking over a job that no one has had in several years.

The town has limited funds to get her some of the things she needs, but she tries to get by with what is handed to her.

Skye has an older brother, Vince who owns the beauty salon in town and when a visiting TV star is found
Jan 02, 2015 Shari rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Narrator may have contributed to my lack of enjoyment of this book. She was not horrible, but not my favorite either.

I really wanted to like this one. I has some small element of romance, it is a series and I need to find a series that I can dig into and enjoy. But, this is not the series for me. I did not like the main character. She just came across as a spoiled brat. She had a job in her field, near her family, had a cool home, and had sorority sisters willing to help her in a cr
Zack! Empire
Dec 16, 2015 Zack! Empire rated it liked it
Shelves: prose-novels
A pretty charming novel. I liked that the main character was pretty thought out right from the beginning. She comes off as a person who thinks she is smarter then most people, but since she is the narrator, she never comes right out and says it. It was also nice to read a book where the main character is putting on weight as she gets older, but doesn't let it bother her. Most of these mystery series I've read deal with women and it get's a bit tiring to read about how skinny they are. Women have ...more
Diane Morasco
Denise Swanson had me laughing so hard tears rolled & rolled... & rolled again! This series is hysterical. Skye is friggin' hilarious!

My favorite was the Cow Chip Bingo. I had to wipe the tears away. It was unbelievably uproarious!

I would combust into fits of laughter telling anybody & everybody about the wickedly delicious Scumble River series.

Watching Skye Denison return to her hometown was enjoyable. Skye is definitely well loved & is welcome w/ open arms. Of course, there are
Jul 15, 2013 Lynn rated it really liked it
I liked this book quite a bit. It is a cozy mystery, but instead of the usual foodie/innkeeping line of work, Skye Dennison is a school psychologist, which I enjoyed, having spent most of my life in public education. Skye is back home in Scumble River 12 years after accusing the small town of having "small minds" in her high school graduation speech. She in not there because she necessarily wants to be, but because it was the place where her godfather, head of the school board, could get her a j ...more
Nov 21, 2010 Barbara rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-cozy
Thought I may have read this one before, but nothing was familiar about the story line. I have read other books in the series, but this is apparently the first book. It concerns a young woman who has to return to her small home town in central Illinois after some setbacks in her life. Too make matters worse, she has to live down her remarks as valedictorian of her graduating class of 12 years ago, were she was vowed to leave the small town and small minds. The towns folk will not let her live th ...more
Jun 22, 2012 Kristen rated it liked it
Shelves: serial-cozy, 2012
If you love a great cozy, you'll love the Scumble River Mystery series by Denise Swanson. It's a charming cozy series with Skye Denison, the lead character, who gets caught up in an embroiled murder mystery. In the fictional town of Scumble River, everyone knows everybody in a small town. We see how close she is to her family and what happened to the past, ever since she left town. In a small town, anything can happen, when secrets rear their head. Skye is an ideal heroine for a small town as a ...more
Katie Sunsdahl
Dec 25, 2015 Katie Sunsdahl rated it it was ok
Quick, simple read, but quite a bit of stupid in it.
Let me preface this review by letting you know I just finished number 16 in this series so I'm obviously a fan. Like many cozy series, this begins with our heroine Skye coming back to her hometown after being scorned by her rich pretentious fiancé. Skye left her town years earlier after declaring herself too smart for her small minded neighbors so it's not easy for Skye to get back on the good side of Scumble River residents. I love the comfort of the small town setting, and Skye's family, and f ...more
Denise Rodgers
Apr 07, 2015 Denise Rodgers rated it really liked it
I didn't read this series in order. I started with book #2, Murder of a Sweet Old Lady, and then Murder of a Sleeping Beauty and Murder of a Snake in the Grass. It was fun to see how the series started after already being familiar with the ongoing main characters. Obviously, I enjoy visiting Scumble River, Illinois, even if Skye Dennison, the main character, does not. She returns to her small home town after losing both her job and her fiance due to a stand she took at work as as school psycholo ...more
Mar 15, 2015 Fanficfan44 rated it really liked it
This is the first book in a well established cozy mystery series currently on book 17. The protagonist, Skye, is a school psychologist who is being forced to return home to a small town Scrumble River and in the process needs to eat some humble pie over statements that she made when giving her valedictorian speech and leaving town for greener pastures.

I liked the main character, Skye, when she dealt with school officials in her capacity as a school psychologist. Other times she seemed to regres
May 13, 2014 Cheryl rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book
Alright -- where to begin. This was an Audible edition. Some of the critique of this is based on the narration. The setting of this book is Illinois. The heroine Skye Denison has to be the dumbest sleuth in history since probably just about everyone had the murderer figured out about halfway through the first date. All of the characters in this are pretty dim but I may not have disliked this as much if I'd read it instead of listening to it. The narrator had good accent for the narration and for ...more
Jul 13, 2014 Vicki rated it really liked it
I'm always excited when I begin a new series. Will this one keep me reading, anticipating each yet-to-be-published new book? Ms. Swanson's heroine, Skye Denison, is not your usual cozy mystery investigator. As a school psychologist, she has a fresh perspective and involvement with the kids and parents in a small town. The author has created a large, rambling family in a small, confined town, albeit within drive-to-dinner distance from Chicago. It's a rich atmosphere for murder and gossip and lot ...more
May 10, 2016 Jeanne rated it liked it
Welcome to small-town Illinois. I Met Denise Swanson two years ago at an author's convention. I like her a lot and promised myself to read her series. Now I have.

Murder of a Small-Town Honey is fun get-away.... a real cozy with interesting characters and a believable protagonist. Sure Skye comes across as a bit of a know-it-all, but you know she's going to learn her lesson and the value of the small, Illinois town she tried to leave behind. Others have been harsh on the book, but I don't know wh
Shirley Worley
Jan 06, 2014 Shirley Worley rated it liked it
After getting a pink slip from her job and her boyfriend, Skye reluctantly moves back to her hometown to take a job as a school psychologist. If that isn't bad enough, every person she runs into remembers all too well her graduations speech about living in a small town, full of small-minded people, with even smaller intellects. Those words spoken so long ago have not been forgotten and have come back to haunt her. When she discovers a body at the Chokeberry Days festival and her brother is soon ...more
Jul 29, 2014 Anastasia rated it it was amazing
Murder of a Small-Town Honey by Denise Swanson is the first book in the Scumble River mystery series. Skye Dennison returns to Scumble River after being sacked from her job and dumped by her boyfiend, only to come across a murder and then becomes involved in the investigation when her brother is falsely arrested for the crime. I loved this first book and am glad I started at the beginning. I enjoyed getting to know the characters and the town and can't wait to read the next installment. The myst ...more
Heidi (Yup. Still here.)
Pretty decent start to series. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator did a good job.
I can understand some of the negative reviews for this first installment in this cozy series. Yes, the protagonist is a bit whiny and entitled but I gave her a lot of slack for being in her mid-20s and having had a rather rough go of life as the book starts. Skye hates her hometown and wanted nothing more than to escape and never look back, but life hasn't gone quite as she planned and she comes slinking back into town to take the only job she could get. While she has lots of book smarts, she ha ...more
Brooke Bumgardner (Brooke Blogs)
Reviewed from Audible Guided Review.

"Good First Cozy in a Series"

Would you listen to Murder of a Small-Town Honey again? Why?
I would. I enjoyed the story and I would like to listen to it again before I listen to the next book in the series.

Who was your favorite character and why?
Skye is definitely my favorite character. I like her personality and I like her as the sleuth in this series.

Have you listened to any of Christine Leto’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
I have not li
Jan 20, 2014 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing
Murder of a Small-Town Honey is the first book in The Scumble River Mystery. This is the first one I have read in this series and I will be reading the others. I think Mrs. Swanson has done a very fine job on her first book.There is so many twist and turns that keep you on the edge. You will laugh till you cry in some of the book. Skye Denison is a young lady who left Scumble River, Illinois twelve years ago. She said a bunch of things when she left that she is sure people has not forgotten. Sky ...more
Aug 10, 2012 Kelly rated it really liked it
What a wonderful beginning to a Cozy mystery series! Skye Denison has moved back to her hometown after leaving upon her high school graduation 12 years prior with a serious "I'm-better-than-this-town attitude." Skye never expected to go back, but after a break up, loss of job and serious financial woes...there really is no better place for her to get back up on her feet. And that is all Skye has in mind when she returns home. She wants to put some work in, save some cash, and head right back out ...more
May 02, 2012 Jan rated it liked it
3 1/2 stars. Skye Denison has returned to the hometown she never meant to live in again. Having lost her school psychologist job, she has managed to get the same position in Scumble River. It is not ideal but begger's can't be losers. No sooner has Skye arrived than she is coerced into working at the local Chokeberry Days Festival. When she tries to rouse the the TV storyteller, Mrs. Gumtree, from her trailer, she finds the old lady dead and, er, not old. She is really a young Honey Adair who sp ...more
Apr 17, 2013 Gabby rated it liked it
Give me a good cozy series, and I'm in reader heaven. I like to get in at the beginning, and with a good series, following the characters as they continue to plot and grow gives me repeated entertainment. This book is the first in Denise Swanson's series about Skye Denison, and it has the potential to keep me interested beyond this one book. What I liked most about the beginning of this series is that Swanson gave just enough backstory to get things going, but she also withheld information that ...more
Dec 01, 2012 Meg rated it it was ok
Shelves: cozy-mystery
Murder of a Small-Town Honey is the first installation of the Scumble River series featuring school psychologist, Skye Denison. Skye has returned to Scrumble River after being fired from her job in New Orleans. When she left Scumble River after high school, she made sure the whole town knew she thought they were a bunch of small town bumkins with no intelligence. As she tries to adjust to small town life again (while hoping everyone forgets what she said as a teenager) she stumbles upon the murd ...more
Sep 22, 2008 Brendan rated it it was ok
Swanson's tale of a school psychologist forced into detection when her brother is accused of murder whisks along at a sprightly pace. The main character is interesting if a bit one-sided (a hair-trigger feminist from a small town, she's angry with everyone).

The author does a decent job setting up the small town atmosphere of busy-body townsfolk and a character slinking home after burning her bridges. At the same time, there aren't very many (if any?) likeable people in the town. Skye's family an
Aug 30, 2015 Kimmie rated it really liked it
It took me a few chapters to really get into this book. I really enjoyed the various quirky characters, especially the main character. The various aspects of the intertwining relationships really gives the reader an inside look into each character. This book had a unique mystery backstory. I could kind of guess who the murderer was, but the various suspects kept me guessing until the reveal. Overall, I enjoyed my time spent in Scumble River, and will most likely read the next book in series.
Aug 31, 2015 Gloria rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Anyone homesick for Illinois will enjoy this cozy mystery full of references to Illinois and written by an Illinois author. Joliet, Interstate I-55, Chicago, University of Illinois and many other Midwest references are included in this light tale of a professional woman who never intended to return home to her small hometown and is struggling with how to deal with her circumstances after being gone for 12 years. A local festival, farms, schools that are behind the times and under-funded, and goo ...more
Mary Newcomb
Skye Denison is back in Scumble River IL, after trashing the town in her high school graduation speech. She is now a school psychologist with a skeleton or two in her closet. In addition to sorting out treatment needs, she has a new hobby of finding dead bodies. This debut book is a bit raw but with potential. I plan to read another one or two before deciding if it will remain on my list of books to read.
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Denise Swanson lives in Illinois with her husband, classical composer David Stybr and their cool black cat Boomerang.
More about Denise Swanson...

Other Books in the Series

A Scumble River Mystery (1 - 10 of 19 books)
  • Murder of a Sweet Old Lady (A Scumble River Mystery, #2)
  • Murder of a Sleeping Beauty (A Scumble River Mystery, #3)
  • Murder of a Snake in the Grass (A Scumble River Mystery, #4)
  • Murder of a Barbie and Ken (A Scumble River Mystery, #5)
  • Murder of a Pink Elephant (A Scumble River Mystery, #6)
  • Murder of a Smart Cookie (A Scumble River Mystery, #7)
  • Murder of a Real Bad Boy (A Scumble River Mystery, #8)
  • Murder of a Botoxed Blonde (A Scumble River Mystery, #9)
  • Murder of a Chocolate-Covered Cherry (A Scumble River Mystery, #10)
  • Murder of a Royal Pain (A Scumble River Mystery, #11)

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