review: Behind the Frame (Book #2: Shepherd Sisters Mysteries series) by Tracy Gardner

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Savanna Shepherd, an art expert turned elementary art teacher, is planning the Art in the Park festival for her hometown of Carson. But apparently, someone isn’t happy that Carson got to host the event: the beloved statue in the park is destroyed. Not long after, Savanna finds the dead body of one of the people on the planning committee.Savanna and her sisters are convinced that the arrested murder suspect didn’t do it, despite strong evidence to the contrary. With the help of Dr. Aidan Gallagher, Savanna’s new romantic interest, they uncover hidden resentments and intrigue. Several people in Carson had a motive for the murder. Can they find out which one of them is behind the framing of an innocent person?

Source: NetGalley Rating: 4½/5 stars

Savanna Shepherd, fresh off solving her first crime, is looking forward to the end of the school year and the opening of the Art in the Park festival.  As one of the driving forces behind bringing the festival to Carson, Savanna is very much looking forward to a highly successful summer.  What she isn’t looking forward to is a spate of vandalism and the murder of a prominent community member.

Though Savanna has no intention of becoming involved in yet another murder investigation, she just can’t seem to help herself.  To be fair, getting involved wasn’t a conscious choice, but one born out of bad luck.  Savanna found the victim and from the moment she did, she knew something was hinky about the whole affair.  Even after sleeping on the events and sorting them in her mind, Savanna believes there is far more to the murder of her friend, than just a simple murder. 

As Savanna begins to track down the clues and the oddities, she uncovers all manner of secrets.  There are the secret relationships, the past criminal records, the unethical relationship between a festival judge and a contestant, and a pure belief that the wrong man has been accused of the murder.  To clear an innocent man, Savanna is going to risk her own life in the process of pulling all the pieces of the puzzle together. 

As if a murder investigation weren’t enough, Savanna and her sisters are also dealing with all manner of shenanigans on a personal level.  Savanna is still feel slightly uncertain of her relationship with the town doctor, Sydney is forging her own path with a most unlikely male suitor, and Skylar has a secret she’s been keeping that she just can’t wait to share with her family.  As usual, the sisters come together to help and support one another through thick and thin.  Lord knows, the Shepherd sisters can find a mess of trouble without going to much effort 😊

The Bottom Line:  I didn’t see an immediate continuation of Savanna’s story – rather than an emphasis on a different sister – coming and I quite liked the surprise.  Once again, I enjoyed the camaraderie among the sisters and their willingness to support and help one another even though the task seems banana pants crazy.  With so much going in the girls’ personal lives, I feel this book demonstrated a lot of growth among the various characters and that is always going to win me over.  Each of the Shepherd sisters bring their individual strengths to the table and as those strengths are growing and evolving, the stories are becoming even better.  I have seriously high hopes for this series!

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