Susan Breen introduces a charming new series heroine in this poignant and absorbing cozy mystery with a bite. Maggie Dove thinks everyone in her small Westchester County community knows everyone else’s secrets. Then murder comes to town.
When Sunday School teacher Maggie Dove finds her hateful next-door neighbor Marcus Bender lying dead under her beloved oak tree—the one he demanded she cut down—she figures the man dropped dead of a mean heart. But Marcus was murdered, and the prime suspect is a young man Maggie loves like a son. Peter Nelson was the worst of Maggie’s Sunday School students; he was also her late daughter’s fiancé, and he’s been a devoted friend to Maggie in the years since her daughter’s death.
Maggie can’t lose Peter, too. So she sets out to find the real murderer. To do that, she must move past the grief that has immobilized her all these years. She must probe the hidden corners of her little village on the Hudson River. And, when another death strikes even closer to home, Maggie must find the courage to defend the people and the town she loves—even if it kills her. (Summary via Goodreads)
This cozy is a breath of fresh air. I enjoyed the storyline and characters in the small town of West Chester, NY. Loved the undertones of hope and friendship above all else throughout the book. I also really enjoyed the Christian based themes that were cleverly placed in this story.
Maggie Dove hasn't had it easy. Her daughter passed away 20 years ago and she has been on hold since. She does have wonderful friends that are there to support her like Winifred who used to be her neighbor and Peter Nelson. Peter is the Assistant Chief of Police for the village of Darby-on-Hudson who was her daughters best friend and love of her life. Winifred her other friend now lives in a nursing facility due to progressive Parkinson's. They are always there to lend an ear. Especially since Maggie has Marcus Bender (Satan) as a neighbor.
Marcus is out for one person and that is Maggie because her beloved Oak tree blocks his view of the Hudson River. She finds poison under the tree and goes to confront him. She has been a Sunday School teacher for 30 years but this man is pushing her buttons. After leaving his house she tries to stay awake to make sure he doesn't come back but sadly falls asleep. Next thing she knows she sees something under the tree and finds that it is Marcus DEAD!!!
Things go from bad to worse when they find out he was poisoned! Who and why would someone do this? Peter is determined to help Maggie until things go topsy turvy and Peter becomes the prime suspect. Maggie will do anything for Peter because he has always been like a son to her. Will she be able to help before she becomes the next victim???
Review by Penny M.