My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Murder, Mayhem & Bliss: A Myrtle Grove Garden Club Mystery, is the first cozy mystery novel by Loulou Harrington, and centres on the residents of Myrtle Grove in Oklahoma, USA. Jesselyn (Jesse) Camden, 50-ish and happily divorced, part-owns the Gilded Lily Tea Room and Coffee House, and works with her mum, Sophia, and nineteen-year-old, excitable SueAnn and no-nonsense chef, Lindsey. Jesse’s good friend and local oil heiress, Vivian Windsor, is grateful for the help of the ladies from the Lily and their friends, when her great niece, Bliss, comes under suspicion after her slimy, cheating and all-round bad guy husband, Harry, is found floating face down and fully clothed in his luxury swimming pool. Can the ladies find the clues to clear Bliss, can they identify what happened to Harry, and can Jesse avoid incurring the professional ire of macho Sheriff Joe Tyler…?
I loved reading Murder, Mayhem & Bliss and sincerely hope that there are more Myrtle Grove Garden Club Mysteries to come. Loulou Harrington’s writing is excellent and, as a result, the story is a smooth and easy read; the dialogue is realistic and believable, and the characters are three-dimensional, well-drawn and good fun. The book as a whole reminded me of Duffy Brown’s enjoyable Consignment Shop Mystery series. Jesse is a warm and likeable lead and the supporting cast is entertaining. The mystery itself is juicy, there are plenty of suspects and the plot progresses logically. Jesse’s relationship with Sheriff Tyler is intriguing and, I imagine, can be explored further in subsequent books. I would heartily recommend this to all cozy mystery fans! For Readers’ Favorite.