One of the first things I read when I picked up this book was that it had previously been published under a different title and different author. This one was entirely rewritten with a new setting. Little did I know the new setting was gonna be Richmond in Central Virginia? Since I did not read the earlier books, this is not a comparison. I am going to be treating this as a new and fresh mystery book.
Cooper Lee, yes, that’s the Lee Cooper jeans guy the other way around, in case you didn’t notice, is a girl is a guy’s uniform. I mean she works as a printer repairperson and goes from offices to offices fixing paper jams and picking up shredded documents. She is good at her job. She lives on a farm outside the city with her parents and grandmother and a motley crew of animals. Actually, she lives on the farm but in a separate apartment, I should say. Cooper has a pretty and well married sister who is busy shopping and doling out fashion advice. Cooper’s just broken up with her boy friend and is licking her wounds. One fine day she runs into a lady on the job. Said lady invites her to a church. Cooper goes into the wrong room and meets the Sunrise Bible Study group, another motley crew of people. And then they get the shocking news that the lady, Brooke is dead. Murdered actually, in her own home.
The mystery is about how a group of virtual strangers – actually, Cooper is the stranger, the rest of them seem to be a unit – come together to solve a crime that has stumped the local police. They are hopeful and persistent, and their Christian spirit shines through. Fans of inspirational fiction, there is some talk of the Bible here, but not a lot. I will say that it is skillfully woven into the story and the dialogue. The mystery is juicy and gripping and a must read. But I want to talk of something else here.
The author is either from Richmond or has done some pretty good research. For me, the book was a mixture of deja’ vu and bittersweet memories and it was a bit too close for comfort. Anyone who lives in Richmond will know what the author is talking about, even though the name of a big local company is partially changed. Even if it wasn’t, the connotations would have been clear. So I am not sure why the author has only partially changed names! Local restaurants and landmarks are referred to throughout the book, and these are real places, let me tell you.
The first book in the series does a great job of building characters, and there are a lot of them! Overall, this is a good cozy mystery that tackles some personal and spiritual questions along with a big fat mystery. What more can a reader want?