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The Corpse in the Gazebo

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Member Reviews

The Corpse in the Gazebo by Debra Sennefelder is such a great book that I couldn't figure out whodunit until the MC figured it out.

Will Hope figure out who killed Birdie before she's arrested?

Hope Early
Hope is still a great character that doesn't set out to find all of these dead bodies. She's juggling so much especially with remembering her schedule and where she is supposed to be at a certain time. Hope finally realizes a lot in this book about not only her blog but about what she wants in her life. She is an amazing person and I wouldn't mind being friends with her. Oh, and I would have access to all those free foods. Not only that but she does seem like a kind, smart and good-humored person; someone I look up to with her blog.

The Victim
The victim this time is Birdie Donovan. We learn a lot about Birdie and why she is the way she is. I felt bad for Birdie once everything came to light she didn't deserve how she died. Birdie's death is also pretty bad as well. Solving this mystery was a lot harder for Hope as the more she dug into Birdie's past the more suspects she was turning up which isn't helpful for her self-preservation. Not only that but the more she realized that something caused Birdie to be this way and it happened in her past. Birdie wasn't well-liked by a lot of people. Did she deserve to die? Probably but not in the way that she did.

Five Stars
The Corpse in the Gazebo by Debra Sennefelder kept me on my toes as I bounced from suspect to suspect with Hope, trying to solve this mystery. Ms. Sennefelder wrote a good mystery with this one as I thought I knew whodunit and I fell for a red herring. I did it twice as well. Then everything clicked into place like it was doing for Hope. My rating for The Corpse in the Gazebo by Debra Sennefelder is five stars and I recommend it to anyone that wants a good mystery.

Don't forget to check out the recipes in the back: Double Chocolate Chip Cookies, Easy Stovetop Mac and Cheese, Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Cookies, Orange Creamsicle Cupcakes, and Chocolate Chip Scones.

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy from the Great Escapes Book Tours. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Thank you for dropping by! I hope you enjoyed this review of The Corpse in the Gazebo by Debra Sennefelder.

Until the next time,
Karen the Baroness

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THE CORPSE IN THE GAZEBO is the fifth book in the Food Blogger Mystery series by Debra Sennefelder. With a cast of realistic characters, chief amongst them protagonist, Hope Early, a successful food blogger, the reader is treated to a delicious mystery. I have so enjoyed watching Hope and her friends and family grow over the series and, as in real life, they face life changing events. In addition, Hope gives back to the community by teaching women, coming out of troubled situation, how to start their own online business. Not only does this help the reader get a glimpse into the kind and generous woman Hope is, but showcases social issues that might be overlooked. Even when a curmudgeonly neighbor, Birdie Donovan, tries to force Hope into moving out of the neighborhood, Hope bakes and delivers muffins to the woman instead of planning revenge!

Ms. Sennefelder expertly sets the scene up for the victim’s murder. Birdie seemed to go out of her way to wreak havoc on her neighbors’ lives and as such, there are a lot of suspects to consider. The police zero in on Hope, since it was her muffins that caused Birdie’s death. Instead of plain curiosity spurring Hope to investigate, this time it’s her freedom and her livelihood that’s at stake. With her sense of urgency to find the truth, I felt Hope crossed the line a few times in her attempt to find evidence and she was much pushier with people than in previous books. Despite that, the author does an admirable job of planting clues and throwing in some twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. The surprising reveal had me revisiting the clues and admiring how Ms. Sennefelder pulled it all together.

As a food blogger, Hope is constantly working on perfecting recipes to showcase on her blog. Be prepared to repeatedly drool as you read! And be prepared to be tempted by all the recipes included at the back of the book!

I was provided with an advance copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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The Corpse in the Gazebo by Debra Sennefelder is the 5th book in a Food Blogger Mystery series, and another good addition to the series. Hope Early is a food and lifestyle blogger, Hope at Home, who lives in Jefferson, Connecticut. Hope's neighbor tries to get her to leave town, so she makes her some muffins to make peace.  When Hope tries to deliver them to her, she finds the neighbor dead.  I really enjoy this series, the stories are so creative. This book has twists around every corner, which I enjoyed. I love the unique people and situations in this book. At one point a lot of people were verbally attacking Hope, I was thinking she is a far stronger person than I am. I found this book to be a quick read, with a well developed plot and characters. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series. If you love cozy mysteries, I highly recommend this book and series.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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What a fun, exciting story! I enjoyed the characters and the story line. The story flowed nicely and it had me reading until the end in a day! I highly recommend this book!

Thank you for letting me review this book
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This is the 5th in the Food Blogger Mysteries.  Hope Early is a food blogger living in her small town in Connecticut.  She worked as at a magazine and lost a reality show and ended up divorced so she headed home and has rebuilt her life.  Her homestyle and food blog is doing well and her relationship with Ethan (Chief of Police) is going well.  Hope is shocked to learn from her sister Claire that her neighbor Birdie Donovan has started a petition to get her to move off her street.  Birdie is the wife of Ted Donovan who is running the charity Emily’s house that Hope is now hosting a class on starting an online business but is shocked when she confronts Birdie about the petition and they both lose their temper.  Hope immediately feels terrible and bakes a basket of muffins and takes them over to her house to make an apology and try and come to some sort of compromise.  Birdie takes the muffins when Hope assures her she did not bake with peanut oil (Birdie is allergic) and then slams the door in her face.  She is shocked when Birdie calls later in the day and schedules a meeting with Hope to try and come up with a compromise.  Hope arrives the next day and finds Birdie dead and of course she was eating one of Hope’s muffins.  Her death is later deemed a murder as peanut oil was found in the muffin and Hope is the prime suspect.  Hope originally had no plans to investigate the murder but when all her sponsors on the blog are putting their sponsorships on hold.  Ethan takes a personal leave and while he cannot stop Hope from investigating he does not want to cause any issues for the town for conflict of interest.  Her sister Claire and friend Drew are helping her with her investigation.  This was a good solid mystery with lots of suspects as Birdie was mean to everyone and no one really liked her.  Claire who normally steers Hope from investigating is really getting the sleuthing bug!  This was a great addition to this series and it was an exciting ending.  Looking forward to the next installment.
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I love this series, and this book met my expectations! The characters are well written and developed, and I loved the twists of the mystery.
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Hope Early is being bullied by Birdie Donovan and it may not only cost Hope her home but her freedom, as well. Birdie is one of those people who thinks her way is the only way and if people don't toe the line and do it her way, she will make their lives miserable. From neighbors to community businesses, nobody is exempt from her opinions. To ponder who might have wanted her dead is to spend a lot of time with a long list of possible suspects. Well Hope didn't do it even though she had just as much of a motive as the next neighbor. Birdie didn't like the attention Hope attracted when it came to finding dead bodies and then unmasking the killer. Birdie wants it stopped and Hope needs to leave town - problem solved. Hope only wants to find peace so she fights back with kindness, making muffins and delivering them only to have Birdie slam the door in her face. When Hope makes another attempt she finds Birdie dead with muffins nearby. Who in town wanted Birdie dead and Hope behind bars? If answers aren't found fast, Hope will lose her sponsors, her home and her freedom. With the help of friends and family she will track down the killer. Along the way she will also torture the reader with some really yummy sounding food.
This is the fifth in the series and not one of them has disappointed me. Each has a very complex puzzle to solve, fair clues, red herrings and blind alleys and a great wrap up at the end. Hope has grown from book to book, her blogging becoming not only her own focus but now she advises other women on the ways to make blogging work for them, too. Her relationships with her sister and her boyfriend, the chief of police are, to my ear, very realistic. Hope is the kind of person one would like to call a friend. If you found yourself in any kind of trouble she would find a way to help you out of it.
My thanks to the publisher Kensington and to NetGalley for giving me an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
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Thank you NetGalley and Kensington Books for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This new entry in the series was absolutely great. While it can easily be read as a standalone, it is more enjoyable if you are already familiar with the series. This time, it is the main character, Hope, who is the prime suspect for the murder of her neighbor, Birdie. While pretty much everyone had a reason to murder Birdie, Hope has to investigate in order to clear her name. 

The storyline really kept me interested, and there are nice twists and surprises along the way. This is a very enjoyable series, and The Corpse in the Gazebo did not disappoint in any way. I look forward to the next book as there are great developments with the characters.
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I'm so glad I was caught up in the series and ready to read this one because it was another good sleuthing session for Hope, Drew and Jane. I loved how those three worked together in the previous book, and they were together again. Hope and Drew did most of the chase or driving work, but Jane definitely did her share. I just love her character and think of Jessica Fletcher since Jane was also a mystery author. The side mystery with Jane's sister-in-law Sally ended up being kinda cute considering how curmudgeonly Sally could get especially when Jane and the crew were sleuthing.

I've learned that in this series (and a lot of mysteries) not everything's what it appears to be, but even keeping that in mind, I was completely surprised by whodunit. Without saying too much, Drew was very happy with the stories he got from this whole case, and I think for once he was feeling some victory where nemesis (and unfair, not-completely-truthful writer) Norrie was concerned.

I loved the celebration with family and friends at the end. Hope definitely went through a lot of issues in this mystery, since as a murder suspect for one thing, she was losing sponsors. Then she was playing part-time mommy to Ethan's girls, although that was something she really liked. But everything turned out great, and the ending was a good one. I can't wait for the next book! This one releases on September 28, 2021, so don't miss out on it!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by Kensington Publishing via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.
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Dollycas’s Thoughts

Birdie Donovan loves to create chaos. She believes everything should be done her way or not at all. Her latest victim is our Hope Early. She has started a petition to move Hope right out of her own home. She has also brandished her trimmers to cut back a neighbor’s bush to the extreme for encroaching on her property, the bush probably won’t bloom again. She has caused havoc at the library and several other places around town. Hope hopes that bringing Birdie a peace offering of a batch of muffins will defuse the situation. Sadly, Birdie takes the muffins and slams the door in Hope’s face.

The next day Hope returns to Birdie’s house to try again. When Birdie doesn’t answer the door Hope ventures into the yard to see if Birdie is working in her beautiful garden. She does find Birdie but she is dead in her gazebo with Hope’s muffins beside her. Hope’s boyfriend Police Chief Ethan Cahill knows there is no way she could kill anyone but the evidence points directly at his girlfriend. He also can’t share any of the police’s investigation with her. She could lose everything she has worked so hard for. Her sponsors quickly put their funding on hold, even the new one that just signed on. If Ethan can’t save her she is going to have to save herself but may die trying.

These characters just keep getting better and better. Hope has become a very capable amateur sleuth. Birdie was a bully in need of an intervention but she didn’t have to die. Hope’s relationship with Ethan was moving along nicely until Hope was framed for a crime she didn’t commit. It caused a few tense moments for the couple. The relationship with her sister Claire is strong and Claire comes into contact with people Hope doesn’t so she learns more about Birdie’s reign of terror. I love the way Jane and Drew rallied to help Hope too in her investigation. An investigation that really pushed Hope to her limits and almost over the line. The animal characters always make me smile too.

I do enjoy the behind-the-scenes look at how Hope manages her blog and love that she is healing women by helping them to start blogs which can help them strike out in new directions the way it helped Hope turn her life around. She always has a tidbit or two that has me looking critically at my own blog and making tweaks here and there.

Ms. Sennefelder has written a very compelling mystery. Clues were dropped judiciously throughout the story and I definitely fell down the rabbit hole of this story. Hope tried so hard to narrow down the suspects and she may have lost a few friends with her leading questions. I tried hard to find the right recipe for the killer but I could not mix the clues together right at all. I was totally gobsmacked when the killer was actually revealed. I was holding my breath throughout the entire scene and still couldn’t believe what I was reading leading me to read it again and again. Wow, the author got me good.

The Corpse in the Gazebo is now my favorite book in this series. The author tempers the heavy dramatic moments with lighthearted times in a meaningful way. Awesome characters embroiled in a top-notch mystery made this story A Perfect Escape! I am really excited to see what Ms. Sennefelder has planned for her characters next.
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Food blogger Hope Early has found more than her fair share of corpses since returning to her hometown of Jefferson, Connecticut. She’ll be the first to tell you that it’s been a distressing chain of events that she certainly did not sign up for, so discovering that a petition is being circulated to run her out of her neighborhood on account of this “disruptive behavior” of hers is just adding insult to injury. When she confronts the petition organizer, her curmudgeonly neighbor Birdie Donovan, she loses her temper in public, only contributing to the ongoing decline of her reputation.

In an effort to make amends, she bakes a batch of apple streusel muffins as a peace offering and brings them over to the Donovans’ house. Apparently mollified, Birdie invites Hope to discuss the matter in her lovingly-tended garden the next morning. But when Hope arrives, she finds Birdie dead in the garden gazebo, clutching pieces of an apple streusel muffin.

At first, Hope thinks it’s yet another unfortunate coincidence. Then the autopsy reveals that the muffin was laced with peanut oil, which Birdie was deathly allergic to. Hope had only learned of this the day before while dropping off the muffins: Birdie had asked with some suspicion whether there were any peanuts or peanut-products in the baked goods, and Hope had been quick to assuage her fears. But the allergen had somehow been introduced to the muffins since then, killing Birdie and leading to Hope becoming prime suspect in her murder.

Hope can’t believe that anyone could possibly think her a killer, and is determined to clear her name, never mind the advice of her boyfriend, Jefferson Chief Of Police Ethan Cahill, or her lawyer Matt Roydon. As the evidence mounts against her -- trapping her in a nightmare of losing her business accounts and possibly her freedom, if not her life -- Hope turns to increasingly desperate measures, risking the permanent alienation of many of her acquaintances as she pursues the truth.

I was genuinely surprised by the lengths to which desperation, combined with Hope’s lack of self-awareness, drove her. In hindsight though it was quite realistic: who is at their most sensible when facing so much ostracization, after all? I also found the discord brought about by Birdie and her actions very believable. Mean neighbors make life a misery for everyone, and it was unsurprising that the suspect list in her murder was so long given her habit of making enemies.

Included with this book were five recipes, written blog-style in keeping with Hope’s profession. They all sounded so good, but I finally decided to try out this one, lightly edited here for format:

Gingerbread Chocolate Chip Cookies

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
6 tablespoons molasses
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¾ teaspoon ginger
Pinch of ground cloves
¾ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.

In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugars. With the mixer on slow speed, add in molasses and vanilla. Add in the dry ingredients, reserving the chocolate chips until later. Mix until the dough comes together and is smooth. Remove from mixer or set aside hand mixer and stir in chocolate chips by hand.

Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour, making sure it’s chilled through but not firm.

Using a medium cookie scoop, scoop out cookies and space 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake for 10-11 minutes.

Let cookies rest on baking sheet for 1 minute, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Store in an airtight container.

I love gingerbread and I love chocolate chip cookies, and I one hundred percent love this combination! Sometimes, putting things like these together doesn’t work out as well as you’d like, but these absolutely exceeded my expectations, combining the best of both kinds of cookie to create a treat that’s truly delectable. They were also very easy to make. I’m definitely keeping this recipe in mind for Christmas cookie season, especially with the weather getting cooler where I am!

Next week, we head to the Midwest to cook up another chocolatey treat while striving to clear the name of someone accused of a grisly stabbing. Do join me!
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Food blogger Hope Early isn't the only one fighting with Birdie Donovan, but she's the one who finds the unpleasant woman lying dead in her backyard gazebo and the one who baked the muffins that are responsible for Birdie's death. 

I enjoyed the mystery element, but really started to lose patience with Hope. Her actions immediately after discovering Birdie's body had me asking a whole lot of questions. This is the fourth book I've read in the five book series and something seems off with the character.
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The Corpse in the Gazebo is the 5th book in the Food Blogger Mysteries series. I picked up this series with The Hidden Corpse (book 2), and I also thoroughly enjoyed books 3 and 4.

In this fabulous cosy mystery, Hope Early is really busy with her teaching classes on blogging at the local women's shelter in Jefferson, Connecticut, whilst continuing with her own food blog, 'Hope at Home'. But all is not rosy as neighbour Birdie Donovan wants Hope run out of town. Then Birdie turns up dead after Hope bakes her some muffins...

Protagonist Hope had such a lot going on in this book, but still managed to spend time with her pets - adorable doggy, Bigelow, Princess, the cat, and Poppy the chicken; she also devotes time to her boyfriend, Chief of Police, Ethan Cahill and they make some decisions. Hope is a great character and she possesses the necessary attributes of any great sleuth: intelligence, curiosity and keenness, and she's never too busy to help others.

I was sold on this compulsive story from the very beginning, and Debra Sennefelder continued to impress me with her fluid writing. The details of the plot were very well-executed, the story was amusing and easy to follow, and every chapter left me with a compelling need to read on. The story was brimming with humour, scrumptious food, and suspects and clues were scattered throughout. The killer reveal was very clever although I had my suspicions about who was responsible, and some yummy recipes are included at the end of the book. This was a tremendously good novel and I am looking forward to reading book six. If you adore a fantastic cozy mystery, don't miss out on The Corpse in the Gazebo.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my request from Kensington Books via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
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A charming and engaging small town cozy mystery. I haven't read all five of the books in this entertaining series. Each can be read as a standalone. Interesting characters and relationships. A dog and a cat, young children and a romantic interest round out the tale. Yummy recipes are also included.
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This is the 5th Food Blogger Mystery. I have read and enjoyed this series from the beginning. I love the savvy independent protagnist the author created who stands on her own merits.  From the beginning of the series the protagnist has been building a food blog through her own hard work. The charcters are all enjoyable and add to the series. The foodie aspect and blogging of a lifestyle brand is fun to read for all readers. This is a 5 star read .Thank you to the publisher and to Net Galley for the opportunity. My review opinion is my own. 

 Hope’s blog is very successful beyond all her hopes .  Not one to rest on her laurels  Hope is volunteering to teach other women how to create a successful life path.  Hope has built her own lifestyle brand by sheer hard work and wants to mentor other women to do the same. Unfortunately her efforts are not appreciated by a cruel neighbor Birdie who wants Hope run out of town due to all the deaths that have occured since she arrived.  She complains loudly to the town of the murders and how Hope is always involved.  Hope responds with what she does best and  bakes Birdie a batch of her best muffins. When she finds  Birdie dead in her gazebo the very next day she is suspect number one and her muffins may have been the murder weapon . Now Hope must try to clear her name, save her reputation and work to find the real killer before she is run out of town.  The police only see her as guilty and not even her police detective boyfriend cannot help her out of this mess.

This was a fun addition to the story and a wonderful sleuth. The clues and red herrings kept me guessing to conclusion. I love the supporting charcters, the setting and our savvy smart protagnist. Well done to the author.
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Spending time with Hope is always a delight. But in the newest addition to the “A Food Blogger Mystery” series, Corpse In The Gazebo, things are getting heated, and spending time with Hope can become nerve-racking. Bridie doesn’t like Hope very much; in fact, she wants her out of the neighborhood. After a heated disagreement in public, Hope bakes some muffins and takes them to Bridie; the next day, she finds Bridie dead on a gazebo floor. It doesn’t take long for everyone to start pointing fingers, and Hope is directly in their sights. 

The characters in this series are always busy with projects, business, and friendships: not to mention, family. For readers, the cast of characters feels like an old friend every time they crack open a new book. Hope, Claire, Ethan,  Jane, and the rest of the gang, make us all crave that close-knit family and friends relationship. Add in some great food, like Hopes muffins and her BPF (best pet friend) Bigalow, and you have a recipe for success. The location of these stories makes you want to visit, especially this time of year, and this time the author added a beautiful garden and gazebo to entice readers’ imagination.

There are a plethora of suspects; almost anyone could be the killer. The victim was a bully, and most people did not like or get along with her. There is evidence, such as the muffins Hope baked being found in the Gazebo, as well as a multitude of red herrings to throw readers off the scent of the killer. Hope, as always, refuses to let the police do their job. Before long, she has made some progress, a new enemy, and added depth to her relationships. The killer, once revealed, may come as a surprise, but this is what makes Corpse In The Gazebo a fantastic read. Hold on to your seat as you travel with Hope on an exciting conclusion that will keep you enthralled until the very last word.
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Another interesting one featuring food blogger Hope Early. I really enjoy the parts of this series about her blogging career, and this one has a lot of growth and development in her personal life, as well as a solid mystery.
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I loved "The Corpse in the Gazebo" the 5th book in Debra Sennefelder's "A Food Blogger Mystery" series. Visiting Jefferson, Connecticut has become a pleasant escape.

Food blogging is turning Hope Early into a household name. But the dead body down the block makes her a #1 suspect...

I love Hope as she is real and I have become invested in her and what is happening around her. I like her family and friends, Claire, Jane, Drew and of course Ethan (Police Chief boyfriend) and the dynamics between them all. Don't get me started on her dog Bigelow, Poppy the chicken and Princess the cat!  

There was life changing moments in this book, as Hope and Ethan make some decisions but it only made the characters more real. With a few suspenseful moments as well as some lighthearted ones, but with plenty of twists and turns to keep us entertained. I did suspect the killer early on but I started second guessing myself as there was plenty of suspects.  

I highly recommend this book and I cannot wait to see what’s next for Hope in this series and I look forward to reading the next book ...

I requested and received an advance reader copy of this book from Kensington Books and Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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A nasty neighbor and an embarrassing encounter cause food blogger Hope Early to be a suspect in murder. Thanks to her sister and a good friend she has help in trying to find the real murderer but is losing friends and important business sponsorships in the process. 

There is a wide variety of characters in this well written story but the best thing is the surprise twist at the end. Thanks to Kensington and NetGalley for an advance copy. The opinions expressed are my own.
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Birdie might have wanted Hope gone because of the chaos she's brought to the neighborhood (or so Birdie believed) but Hope didn't kill her.  She baked her muffins.  Unfortunately, she also is the one who finds Birdie dead in her gazebo.  Cozy readers know that Birdie was rotten to more people than Hope so there will be multiple suspects.  Hope's love interest, the patient Police Chief Ethan, doesn't want her investigating but of course she does. Thanks to netgalley for the ARC.   It's a classic cozy with good characters and some red herrings.
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