Those of you who read my blog regularly know that I have been trying to read (or re-read) and talk about some of the most popular and recommended Cozy Mystery series at least once or twice a month. The next in this series is the Flower Shop Mystery Series by Kate Collins. Mum’s the Word is the first book in this series which introduces us to our sleuth, Abby Knight.
Abby Knight is the proud owner of her own flower shop, “Bloomers”. She recently flunked out of law school and was dumped by her rich lawyer fiancée just a few weeks before her wedding. However, despite her recent setbacks, Abby has bought both a used yellow Corvette and “Bloomers” and is trying to make the flower shop a go.
The book opens with Abby in a good mood ready to face another day when someone in a dark SUV backs into her prized Corvette and drives off without leaving any contact information. This hit and run accidents starts a series of events that eventually lead to Abby investigating a murder that may involve a corrupt politician, corrupt policemen, an abusive husband of a friend of her co-worker, illegal sales of drugs and more!
Needless to say, Abby has her hands full sleuthing! Luckily she gets the support of the handsome bar owner just a couple of doors down from her shop, Marco. Marco is an ex-cop so he has some sleuthing chops of his own. He and Abby make quite a team. In addition to Marco, Abby has a contact (and other potential suitor), Greg, who is a lawyer in the District Attorney’s office. So when she needs inside information she has this insider to use.
As some of you already know, normally I’m not crazy about a lot of romance in my Cozies. I prefer the Cozies I read to be heavy on the mystery puzzle to solve and light on the romance (or other extraneous) elements. This Cozy is pretty heavy on the “how will Abby’s love life go” element. But, for some reason, I thought these parts of the book were just fine. They were woven into the mystery story so skillfully that I thought they naturally belonged.
Also, there is a (very) little use of strong language by one of the potential villains in the book. The words he uses seem to fit his character and the circumstances, but for those of you who want absolutely no such language in your Cozies, this is not for you.
Finally, I need to mention that several of the books in this series have been made into Hallmark mystery movies that are shown on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel. Brook Shields portrays Abby in the movies and the plot and characters in the movies bear little resemblance to those of the book. I wouldn’t say either the book or the movies are better Cozy Mysteries, but I’ll leave it up to you to decide. I will say that I enjoyed the movies, and I recommend this book.
And, as a postscript, I’ll mention that a while back I interviewed Kate Collins – you can read the interview here.