3.5 out of 5 stars
A great beginning to a new (for me) mystery series. I really enjoyed Charlaine Harris
' Sookie Stackhouse books, and these books promise to be good, too. The main character is Lily Bard, a person who is trying to hide from her terrible past. She has been living in the small town of Shakespeare, Arkansas for four years when the landlord of the apartment building where she works as a cleaning lady is murdered. Lily becomes involved in the hunt for the murderer, and thus sets the stage for the story.
I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised about many parts of this book. I was expecting a cozy mystery, something similar to Murder She Wrote or the Crossword Lady books. Instead I got something a bit more complex, with a protagonist that was more Kinsey Milhone (from Sue Grafton's Alphabet series) than Jessica Fletcher. I liked that Lily is a strong, though damaged woman, fighting the demons of her past. In fact, I was surprised by Lily's past as I was not expecting a character with so much baggage. To me that makes her a more interesting character to read about. In addition, there were a few other characters that I am excited to keep tabs on in the future.
In addition, the plot of the story was solid with enough innuendo and red herrings to keep me guessing. In fact, I did not guess who the murderer was at all, and when Harris revealed the perpetrator and the motive, I was definitely surprised. In fact, most of my friends who have read this book have said the same thing. The fact that Ms. Harris is able to craft a mystery that actually surprised me with it's ending is a selling point and has solidified my resolve to read the rest of the series.