Murder by Kindness by Barbara Graham is the seventh book in the “Quilted” mystery series. Publisher: Five Star, February 2016
The residents of tiny Park County, Tennessee are looking forward to the end of winter and plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day in style with a community fund raiser. Sheriff Tony Abernathy’s dream of a crime free county explodes, along with an illegal still. The moonshine is missing. An underage driver, bar fights and the arrival of a popular young movie star with his entourage promises to keep his small staff busy.
Theo, Tony’s wife, is pulled away from her quilt shop by a phone call. Her best friend Nina is out of town and water has been spotted pouring under the front door of Nina’s home and away from the home. Theo arranges to turn off the water and put a restoration company to work removing the water and drying the contents of the house but the discovery of Nina’s ex-husband’s corpse in the storm cellar stops everything.
An elderly citizen dies under suspicious circumstances and Tony must shift through the facts, rumors and ne’er do well relatives to determine what actually happened to her. His work is interrupted by a report of a brawl in his wife’s shop with Theo in the thick of it.
The county chaos increases with the arrival of some extra wives, more exploding stills and Cupid leaving a trail of paper hearts.
This is one of those books that need to be devoured immediately because everything about it warmed my heart and I wanted to quickly find out how it all ends. Barbara is a treasured writer who teased me with her narrative while putting the shine on a mystery that begged to be solved and when they were, I was intrigued at the how and the whys which enhanced the telling of this story and that twist at the end, priceless. I love how the author sets up the flow of the chapters by interspersing each with what’s going on in Tony and Theo’s days making it easy to follow through all the action in this evenly paced drama. Boasting a lovable cast of characters, great dialogue and a small-town atmosphere, this was a great read and I look forward to more happenings in Park County with Tony, Theo and their friends.