Murder of a Small Town Honey is the first Scumble River Mystery. This is a series of cozies, and this first book is from 2000. The amateur sleuth in this series is a school psychologist named Skye Denison. Skye was very glad to get out of the small town of Scumble River after graduating high school. She spent some time in the Peace Corps and then went to work in New Orleans after graduate school. Her time in New Orleans ended badly, and she came back to her roots with some help from her godfather.
At the annual Chokeberry Days festival, the celebrity Grand Marshal for the parade is found murdered. Amateur sleuths usually start out snooping because someone close to them, or they themselves are suspected of the murder that the sleuth happened to stumble upon. One of the prime suspects in the murder is Skye’s brother Vince. Added to the usual amateur sleuthing, Skye is also dealing with a bit of an unrequited crush for the police chief, and an attraction to the new coroner/funeral home operator.
I enjoyed the look at the work of a school psychologist, Denise Swanson worked as a school psychologist for over twenty years. I tend to like the mysteries that give a chance to see other careers, with interesting details, but not too many details. I think Denise Swanson finds a nice balance. I suppose it helps that everyone has gone to school and knows a bit about the clashes between students, parents, and faculty. Even though this book is a decade old, not much has changed with the challenges to public education, so it still feels very timely.
Skye is a gutsy heroine, and I like the challenges she faces by coming home again. She kind of went out with a bang when she originally left Scumble River, and being a small town, most people still haven’t forgotten her parting comments twelve years later. She is struggling to be independent, in spite of her parent’s wanting to take care of her.
I enjoyed this book, and went on to read the next two in the series immediately. I’m going to give Murder of a Small Town Honey by Denise Swanson, 2 bookmarks.