Cozy Mystery Week Review: A Fatal Collection (Book #1: Keepsake Cove Mystery Series) by Mary Ellen Hughes

A Fatal CollectionCallie Reed makes a long overdue visit to her aunt Melodie, who lives in a fairy-tale cottage in quaint Keepsake Cove, home to a bevy of unique collectible shops on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Just as they’re beginning to reconnect, Callie discovers her aunt’s body on the floor of her music box shop. Grief-stricken, Callie finds she can’t accept Melodie’s death being called accidental. How could her strong and healthy aunt take such a fatal fall? And why was she there in the middle of the night?

As Callie searches for the truth, signs seem to come from her late aunt through a favorite music box, urging Callie on. Or are they warnings? If Callie isn’t careful, she could meet a similar deadly fate amid Melodie’s collection. 

Review. Text on the string. Conceptual 3d image

Source: Netgalley          My Rating: 4½/5 stars

Callie Reed’s life is something of a mess. She has a job she isn’t particularly passionate about and a boyfriend who takes lackluster to a whole new level. With a real need to re-set and re-focus, Callie heads to her beloved aunt Melodie’s home for a breather and a chance to figure out what she wants for her future.

As fate would have it, Callie’s future is laid out before her when her aunt is found dead in her own collectible music box shop. Though the death is ruled accidental, Callie isn’t at all certain. Her aunt Melodie was young, vibrant, healthy, and had no valid reason for being in the shop so late at night. What’s more, there were no signs of forced entry and nothing was stolen from the shop. Accident just doesn’t add up and as soon as she gets a free moment, Callie intends to find out what really happened to her aunt that fateful night.

But first . . . .

Much to Callie’s great surprise, her aunt not only left her a home, but also a successful business in a delightfully small town full of (mostly) welcoming and friendly folks. With the help and advice of the other shop owner’s and one delightfully quirky part-time employee, Callie is able to re-open the music box shop. With the steady stream of local and just-visiting-the-town customers, Callie is secure in her financial future which allows her some free moments to begin piecing together the last days of her aunt’s life. What Callie discovers is a great deal of mystery and not a lot of answers. Her aunt apparently had a significant other not even her best friend knew about, she had a burner phone, and access to a lot of valuable merchandise. Every question brings few answers and a host of new and more perplexing questions. Being new in town means Callie doesn’t know precisely who she can and cannot trust which eventually puts her shop and her life in jeopardy.

The Bottom Line: I got a great deal of pleasure out of this book! Keepsake Cove is such a wonderful world full of delightful and sometimes crazy characters. Each character, even the minor characters, are so well-developed and interesting. Each new person Callie encounters has a story of his/her own to tell and a willingness to help Callie acclimate into their world. There’s a great deal of misdirection in this read which will keep you guessing as to the identity of the big bad right up to the reveal. Between the characters, the fun plot, and the perfectly delightful town of Keepsake Cove, I am sold on this series and thoroughly look forward to the continuation of the series.

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