Title: Hiding Gladys (Cleo Cooper Mystery #1)
Author: Lee Mims
Pub. Date: January 8, 2013
Source: Publisher (Thank you, Midnight Ink!)
Summary: Cleo Cooper is either about to strike it rich or lose it all. Discovering a huge and rare granite deposit is a geologist’s dream come true. The multi-million dollar quarry deal will also benefit Cleo’s friend Gladys Walton, who owns the rural North Carolina property. So what could go wrong? Finding a dead body in Gladys’s well, for starters. A hitchhiking rattlesnake and a near-fatal accident during the drill test convinces Cleo that someone is dead set on scaring her–and halting the project. The two likely suspects? Gladys’s greedy, grown children, Robert Earle and Shirley, who try every dirty trick in the book to cash in on the granite-rich land. But are they nasty enough to resort to murder?
Genre: Cozy Mystery
I love my cozies. There’s something so fun about curling up on the couch with a cup of tea and discovering the identity of the murderer. I was ecstatic about receiving a copy of Hiding Gladys the first in a new series, and couldn’t wait to jump in.
Cleo Cooper is a geologist. Super cool. She discovered a bed of granite on Gladys Walton’s property and its excavation will make both women fabulously rich. Unfortunately for Cleo, a dead body is discovered and maybe that rattlesnake didn’t find its way into her Jeep on its own. Add in two horrible spoiled still-living-at-home children, an ex-husband (who doesn’t want to be entirely out of the picture), and a promising new relationship and you’ve got the makings of a great story.
The characters in Hiding Gladys were great. Robert Earle and Shirley, Gladys’s adult children are absolute monsters. They grew up never having to lift a finger and expect things to remain that way. Naturally the giant check their mother is about to receive has them drooling. Nash is a fellow geologist and although Cleo had been on a date or two with him in the past, nothing more developed. That’s not to say they wouldn’t love to give things another shot, however. Cleo’s ex-husband Bud hasn’t yet grasped the idea of the ex part and still insists on coming around to her house. Unfortunately, Cleo’s own children, Henri and Will, were a bit lacking. I couldn’t get a good feel for the two apart from a few basic points the book told me.
As for the story, it was fun! It dragged a bit at times, but once the action started I was hooked. Looking back, I should have realized who the bad guy was, but while reading, I was totally absorbed and thought for sure it was someone else.
While I enjoyed Hiding Gladys, I have to say I had a hard time relating to the characters. Cleo’s 23-year old daughter owns a boat. How someone younger than me could afford their own boat – and it was a fairly large one, not some dinky canoe – is beyond me. Also, my eyes nearly jumped out of their sockets when Cleo went to the bank for a $4 million loan. Who knew becoming a geologist could be so lucrative.
Apart from a few minor issues, I did enjoy Hiding Gladys, though I’m still debating whether or not to continue with the series.