My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Christmas Cow Bells is the first book in a new cozy series, A Buttermilk Creek Mystery, published in 2019 by Mollie Cox Bryan. I belong to a cozy mystery group where the book was mentioned, and since I was looking to start a new series and had heard of the author, I took a chance. I’m glad I did, so let’s get into the review.
Brynn returned home to Virginia earlier this year to open a cheese shop after her beloved grandmother passed away. Unfortunately, after the move, she learned her fiance was cheating on her, so she dumped him and threw herself into a solitary life. Slowly, she made friends, including neighbor Nancy and the three cows she was raising to produce cheese. Then one of the cows gives birth to a stillborn calf and Nancy is killed in a fire, so everything is going downhill. Except – it looks like murder, and Brynn is determined to fix everything in her life before things get even worse.
The series has everything you’d want to see in a standard cozy. The Virginia farm setting is bucolic and comforting. The sleepy town suddenly filled with hate and murders is alarming. The friendships Brynn makes with the locals force to you to question which one is lying to her. The mystery itself is strong and filled with lots of possible suspects. Someone either wanted the land Nancy owned or she knew a secret about them. Which was it? I changed my guess a few times but ultimately settled on the right two people — not that there were two murderers, but two were involved in the shenanigans occurring behind the scenes.
The writing quality is good. The characters all have depth and feel realistic. Some are mean, some are kind. I wanted to hit a few for the way they behaved, but Brynn also got a little too pushy. On the flip side, she was caring and loving to Nancy’s college-aged grandsons, so she was a wonderful main character. As the mystery unraveled, I enjoyed discovering the truth and red herrings. I think the story ended too quickly without a clear understanding of all the whys, but I can’t give away the reason as I don’t want to spoil it. Some will be covered in the next book, and I will keep reading the series. Kudos to the author for a great start.
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For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations but with a twist. There are five books: Academic Curveball, Broken Heart Attack, Flower Power Trip, Mistaken Identity Crisis, and Haunted House Ghost. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where you can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.