diana jaycox (my friends call me DJ)
I think I might love this series even more than St. Marin series!
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on 5 September 2022
As much as I love ACF Bookens St. Marin series, after reading Crossed By Death, I may love her Stitches in Crime series even more. And that is saying a lot! Because let's face it, St. Marin with It's quirky but loveable populate,a small town, pet friendly, great cup of coffee, bookstore AND a murder mystery, is really hard to compete with! Yet, Crossed by Death heroine Paisley Sutton, a middle-aged single mom with a precocious toddler in tow, discovering a dead body while salvaging a derilect store and gas station, give Harvey Beckett, her dog Mayhem and cat Aslan, from St. Marin, a real run for her money! I may have to read more to decide, as it has been awhile since I read Punishable by Death (St. Marin) and just finished Crossed by Death, so my adventure with Paisley is fresher in my mind. Paisley might have an unfair advantage over Harvey!
Whatever your favorite series may be you can't go wrong with ACF Bookens! Ms Bookens is a master in creating small towns that make the "everyone knows your business" aspect welcoming instead of off- putting. Amongst the quirky townspeople, the small businesses and close knit neighborhoods, Bookens introduces the reader to a simpler, peaceful, loving way of life. Through her writings, this reluctant rural Missouri transplant ( myself) has begun to see my community in a much better light. As I related to the characters in ACF Bookens books, I learned to seek the story behind my neighbors and townspeople. Good Fiction should take you away from yourself for awhile and return you to your reality, a better, more empathetic version of yourself. ACF Bookens does just that with her writing.
Harvey in St. Marin is starting a second career, opening a bookstore in a small southern town. Solving a murder is not the only thing that Ms. Bookens addresses with the help of her heroine. Part of the magic of ACF Bookens, is the issues she brings to light, while solving the murder. Through Harvey, it was the intricacies of opening a small business as a outsider in a town of insiders, matters of hidden and overt feelings of racism, and the everyday ups and downs of beginning a new chapter of life as a middle-age woman. As Harvey thinks and makes others around her think, so did I. This back story was as intriguing as the mystery. I spent a lot of time dreaming about small bookstore and re-inventing myself late in age.
With Crossed by Death, I was pleased to find the same technique was used. I commisurated with Paisley on the trials and joys of raising a very active toddler in your late 30s. My darling would only sleep in a moving car at that age, too. The problems with work life balance and navigating the intricacies of friendships and more intimate relationships when fatigue seems to be your constant companion. Oh, and the cross-stitch to relax; she is a kindred-soul if I ever met one! But what I loved most about Paisley is our shared love of history. Paisley's need to discover and tell the stories of people and sites she finds, mimics my passion for rooting out obscure branches of family trees. Crossed By Death is full of wonderful tidbits about researching genealogy, historical sites and obscure historical events. ACF Bookens shows her talent for getting to the heart and soul of her characters in Crossed By Death, as by the time you finish reading you will swear you have met these characters in your own life. I think she must have attended a fish fry on the river with my family a time are two!
Reading Crossed By Death was an immersive experience for me. I didn't just read the story, I lived it, from the first sentence to the last. I have all her books on the To be Read shelf. I only hope I can finish them in my lifetime! If you haven't experienced this truly amazing author yet, pick up Crossed By Death, it's an entertaining romp through small-town living!
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