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May Day

(Murder-by-Month Mystery #1)

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  1,826 ratings  ·  208 reviews
Minneapolitan Mira James has been taking it easy since college graduation--too easy. Due to a dead-end job and a cheating boyfriend, the Twin Cities have lost their charm, and Mira decides to begin a new life in rural Battle Lake. Right away she is offered jobs as an assistant librarian and part-time reporter, and falls into an unexpected romance with a guy who seems to be ...more
Paperback, 226 pages
Published March 8th 2006 by Midnight Ink (first published March 2006)
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Average rating 3.46  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,826 ratings  ·  208 reviews

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Kylie D
An interesting enough cozy that sees Mira moving to a small country town, meeting the man of her dreams, then being stood up by him. She shows up for work on Monday, just to stumble across his dead body. Mira is then on a mission to find out who killed him and why.

Easier said than done, in a town full of whimsical characters, who often have their own secrets. A lot of which Mira really didn't want to know. After some hilarious encounters, which leaves the reader chuckling, Mira narrows down her
May 26, 2015 marked it as nope
Decent amount of potential given the flap, but falls flat. Quit halfway in.

Small town librarian? Yay? Nope - she's an English major but she's sure that's basically the same thing and she'll just lie about Dewey and look, she's just as good as a librarian a couple of weeks in. Ugh. Disappointed by pretty much all the library stuff, including the one wrong call number tossed in.

The main problem, though, is that the main character is unlikeable. Excluding the dude she dates, most the character are
May 27, 2015 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Sue by: Cindy
Shelves: book-club
I did not really like this book. It was crude and poorly written. I think she tried to hard to make her descriptions different and apparently she isn't getting enough sex, so that's all she had her main character think about. I rated it 2.25 of 5 stars, which may have been a little high.
Oct 11, 2014 rated it did not like it
Does anyone in Minnesota actually use "ya'll" as a singular pronoun? Man, that's bothering the crap out of me. It's plural, dammit! I should go to sleep...
Catherine  Mustread
Fast paced romance/mystery set in small town Minnesota.

Not my usual style, but I quite enjoyed this first book in the Mira James Mystery series, set in Battle Lake, Otter Tail County, Minnesota. The connection with the Public Library and the surprising twist leading to the finale were a bonus.
This was an interesting and sometimes entertaining read. The main character is witty and humorous at times, but occasionally her humor is in poor taste. There is a love interest, a back story that lets you understand some of the main character's reactions to certain situations, a murder and quirky secondary characters.

While the main character is not always admirable, you do tend to understand her. There are a few things that could have been better researched such as public information around wil
Evelyn Grabas
Good storyline, but lacks much in the way of research. I gave it 3 stars for the whole premise of the story, which could have been a great read if properly researched and written.
As a point of interest, 10 days after someone is deceased, his/her will is filed for probate in the Surrogate's Court and Letters Testamentary are granted to whoever is named Executor of the estate. In order for anyone to proceed to administer the estate, these Letters must be granted, otherwise he/she would , by law,
May 28, 2012 rated it it was ok
I picked this book up for free in the kindle store. I'm just now getting around to it. It was strongly suggested that this book was a "cozy " mystery. I think some hardcore cozy readers might disagree . Most cozies lack strong language and crude sexual comments. The F bomb was dropped a time or two and some of the jokes were a little rough.
Mira is staying at a friend's farm in small town Minnesota. She gets a job at the small library. She meets a nice guy and starts to care about him, then he is
Mar 07, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I went into this hoping to be mildly entertained, and really wanting a good who-done-it. This delivered. The main protagonist is a 28 year old temporary librarian and part-time reporter stuck in small town Minnesotan life. A recent lover is murdered and she takes it upon herself to find out who killed him, discovering all kinds of town secrets she would have preferred not knowing. The writing is competent, indeed at times racy and irreverent. The humor is occasionally sophomoric and Mira does do ...more
Jun 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mysteries, minnesota, may
Mira the main character was consistently foolish which made it hard to admire her. Some of her cracks were witty and funny but they were quite mean at the same time and they were never softened by any kind remarks, for instance all the snide blue hair, raisin ranch and the like comments could have been balanced by a nice old person some where along the line.
Jenny Kales
Aug 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this fresh take on the traditional/cozy mystery. The characters are a lot of fun and I didn't want to put the book down -- it's got a strong heroine, lots of humor, quirky locals and a twisty plot. I'm already hooked on this series and will be reading more.
Feb 24, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-challenge
May Day is a victim of its own attempts to be edgy and humorous. Overall, the story is solid - a young woman, Mira, moves to a small town to housesit for a friend and takes a job at the local library. She meets a handsome, kind man, Jeff, and they begin a relationship. She has an event in her past that has scarred her a bit, and she is devastated when the young man winds up dead. In the library. As in small towns, the people are interconnected with long histories and longer memories. When Mira f ...more
Shari Ring Wolf
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As shucks

I had some real literary critique for this book until I read the "Acknowledgement" chapter. The author writes about edits and revisions, and mentions the things she has decided to leave in and why. She mentions any critique I had planned to review. I absolutely love this author's Catalain books; they led me to her website and Course for writing to heal, so I knew that this book was healing for her and written during a troubling time in her life. The book is crazy funny. It's edgy, quick
Jun 08, 2020 rated it liked it
This is the first of Jess Lourey's Murder By Month Mysteries. The character is growing on me.

Mira James has left the city of Minneapolis Minesota to return to small town life at the insistence of a friend who needs a house sitter. Since her own city life is falling apart, she loses her job and finds out her boyfriend is screwing the neighbour all on the same day, she decides to take her friend's offer and head to Battle Lake. It's a small town, not unlike her own hometown of Pagnesville with th
Susan Barton
When her life doesn't seem to be going in the direction she'd hoped, thirty-ish cosmopolitan girl Mira James takes her friend Sunny up on an offer to house/dog sit in rural Minnesota. Mira quickly becomes part of the town and, when she meets hunky Jeff, she falls head over heels... until tragedy strikes. Mira sets out to find the truth to what's really going on in historical Battle Lake, Minnesota, but it just might get her killed in the process.

I thought this book was a tiny bit slow to get goi
Angel Graham
Apr 08, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Okay read. Pretty easy to figure out who the killer many clues. A few moments of lighthearted fun, but mostly just meh.

Edit. After a few hours of thinking, I've lowered the stars.

Near the end of the book, there is a conversation with the MC and a gentleman, named Jack. Jack is F-M transgender person. MC rudely asks what his dead name was, and in her internal dialogue, makes a nasty comment about why only transgender man wants her and what it means about herself.

That's some major trans
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Small town, big secrets - a geriatric Peyton Place

A good solid read but I personally didn't find it hilarious or even amusing. She has lost her job, found her boyfriend cheating on her when a call came asking her to house sit a property for a friend of hers. With nothing better to do, she packs up and heads for the small town. Two part time jobs follow and a meeting with an archaeologist. Before she even realises it she semi fallen for him when his body is found. Why do all the leads point back
Stephen Terrell
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
May Day is just fun -- a cozy mystery with a good dose of humor, just a touch of sex, and a big does of quirky Minnesota. And it's well worth the read.

This is the opening novel in the Mira James series. Mira is a librarian / part-time reporter in the small north Minnesota town of Battle Lake. Unsuccessful in romance, she seems to have stumbled on the one great guy still left. But when he turns up dead between the stacks of the library, Mira is on the hunt for his murderer.

I'm not a big fan of t
May 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book in the Mira James mystery series by Jess Lourey is definitely a different kind of mystery solving sleuth, which makes for some very entertaining as well as humorous reading as Mira heads straight on, sort of, in trying to solve a murder mystery. Of course, in a small town, there are bound to be very different and eccentric characters, and the book is filled with them, though the author does hold out the best for last. I found Mira herself to be a fun character to follow in her exploits ...more
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After losing her job as waitress her friend called to ask her to house sit for her in Battle Lake Minnesota. Mira James moved and started working as assistant Librarian in the Library and working as a part time reporter for the Battle Lake Record. Mira was putting books back on the shelves when she found the body of Jeff Wilson in the Pl-Sci aisle. Knowing that Jeff was an archaeologist checking out the history of Battle Lake they became close after she showed him the old Ferguson Farm. She star ...more
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
Another one that I couldn't get into. Though there were lots of snippets of clever writing I just didn't identify with Mia. In fact I don't even know if the main character's name IS Mia and I don't care enough to go look it up. She's house sitting for a friend, has a part time job at a library and hooked up with a guy who was investigating the sale of some local property who then gets killed and deposited at her library. So obviously she must solve who he was and why he was killed. Right? I pers ...more
Liz Etnyre
The main character is, I think, supposed to be witty and a bit snarky but just comes off as rather mean-spirited and unlikable. She certainly does not seem to care much about, or think much of, the other characters in the book (-with the exception of the murder victim.) Although certainly not egregious, a number of inaccuracies do indicate a need for a bit more research and another round of editing. A decent enough mystery to keep me interested long enough to finish the book, even if I did figur ...more
Nicci Nicole
Ultimately a Great Book

I love humorous mysteries. I don't normally read reviews before I read a book because I dont want to be swayed or have false expectations. However, halfway through I found myself having to read the reviews because I was confused by my dislike of the main character. I found her to be quite immature although she was supposed to be 30 and in serious need of counseling. I struggled to finish because of this but read through to end including the acknowledgments. The book is a g
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic read! And in spite of the dark theme - I consider murder dark, don't you - the story is fun...funny...touching...and honest. Ok. I know it's fiction, but there's genuine honesty in the writing and the characters. There are several layers to this novel, but above all, this story is about healing. So if you want to know how murder is healing, I guess you'll have to read it. And while you're at it, read about Lourey's personal journey as a writer. It'll shed some light on the power this b ...more
Michelle Wakeman
May Day is a great May read!

I was a little turned off by the sexual content of the first couple of chapters, but I like to give books a chance to prove themselves, so I persevered. I’m really glad I did. In spite of the fact that there are way too many “unique” personalities for a small rural area, the book was well crafted, and kept my attention continuously right to the end. The plot was well paced and the clues were all there for the reader to pick up on, but not obvious enough to ruin the cl
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
I will not be reading anymore of this series. It felt uneven. There was a slow start and then an uptake but then it slowed down again. I have to honestly say I didn't finish reading it. The characters didn't hold my interest enough to form an opinion of them. I had no desire to pick it up again once I put it down but made an effort and then decided to stop torturing myself.
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

The book itself was good but I had hoped it would be more interesting. The reviews and description made me excited to read it but the story just wasn’t for me. One thing that really bothered me were the many spelling/editing errors. Maybe I’m being too harsh but it’s just what I thought.
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Extremely well written, but a bit of a downer. The subtitle is more than a bit misleading--this isn't an amusing "cozy" mystery. I really felt for the protagonist, and I'm so upset by what she's been through I don't know if I can read the next book in the series because I don't want any other bad things to happen to her. But again, really well written.
Ruth Morales
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Losing Love, as Forever

She's a quirky, unusual,and bracelets female who finds horrors in everything. Her body tends to fail her until she remembers"I am woman watch me road". I enjoyed most of this. "Panic Attacks" are a real psychological problem... but she does try working through it all.
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Jess Lourey writes about secrets. She is the bestselling Agatha, Anthony, and Lefty-nominated author of the critically-acclaimed Mira James mysteries, which have earned multiple starred reviews from Library Journal and Booklist, the latter calling her writing "a splendid mix of humor and suspense."

Jess also writes nonfiction, edge-of-your-seat YA adventure, magical realism, suspense novels, and t

Other books in the series

Murder-by-Month Mystery (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • June Bug (Murder-by-Month Mystery #2)
  • Knee High by the Fourth of July (Murder-by-Month Mystery #3)
  • August Moon: Humor and Hijinks (Murder-by-Month Mystery, #4)
  • September Fair (Murder-by-Month Mystery #5)
  • October Fest (Murder-by-Month Mystery #6)
  • November Hunt (Murder-by-Month Mystery #7)
  • December Dread (Murder-by-Month Mystery #8)
  • January Thaw (Murder-By-Month Mystery, #9)
  • February Fever (Murder-by-Month Mystery #10)
  • March of Crime (Murder-by-Month Mystery #11)

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