A Fatal Collection
By Mary Ellen Hughes
Keepsake Cove #1
Midnight Ink, 2017
Callie Reed makes a long overdue visit to her aunt Melodie, who lives in a fairy-tale cottage in quaint Keepsake Cove, home to a bevy of unique collectible shops on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Just as they’re beginning to reconnect, Callie discovers her aunt’s body on the floor of her music box shop. Grief-stricken, Callie finds she can’t accept Melodie’s death being called accidental. How could her strong and healthy aunt take such a fatal fall? And why was she there in the middle of the night?
As Callie searches for the truth, signs seem to come from her late aunt through a favorite music box, urging Callie on. Or are they warnings? If Callie isn’t careful, she could meet a similar deadly fate amid Melodie’s collection.
In this first book of a new series, Mary Ellen Hughes has created a fascinating small-town community in the picturesque Keepsake Village that I’d love to visit – a village with “brick walkways, ornamental street lights, hanging flower baskets, and Dickensian shop fronts.” Each shop specializes in a certain collectible, such as music boxes, trains, salt & pepper shakers, etc. Even if I couldn’t afford anything, shopping would be so much fun!
A Fatal Collection is my kind of comfortable cozy mystery, although I’d have preferred the murder victim to be someone easy to dislike – but then, that wouldn’t be very realistic. Callie is a likeable protagonist and easy to connect with. Like many young people, Callie hadn’t figured out what she wanted to do with her life, and then her aunt’s death gave her the opportunity for a fresh start – new location, new home, new business. Several characters are introduced in this first story, setting the stage for further development.
The writing flowed smoothly and quickly captured my interest so much that it was hard to find a temporary stopping place. The story had some supernatural and psychic elements that I don’t usually care for, but they worked well in this setting. A couple of neat twists made the murder difficult for me to solve ahead of time, as usual. I thoroughly enjoyed A Fatal Collection and hope this series continues for a good while.
I was provided a free copy of this book through Great Escapes Tours. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
Mary Ellen Hughes is the bestselling author of the Pickled and Preserved Mysteries (Penguin), the Craft Corner Mysteries, and the Maggie Olenski Mysteries, along with several short stories. A Fatal Collection is her debut with Midnight Ink.
A Wisconsin native, she has lived most of her adult life in Maryland, where she’s set many of her stories. Visit her at www.MaryEllenHughes.com.
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