Doing It at the Dixie Dew by Ruth Moose

Doing It at the Dixie Dew (Dixie Dew Bed & Breakfast #1) by Ruth Moose
Pub. Date: May 6, 2014
Source: finished copy via publisher (Thank you, Minotaur Books!)
Summary: Beth McKenzie’s attempt to turn an old Southern mansion into a Bed and Breakfast called The Dixie Dew is thwarted when her first guest is found dead in bed. Murdered, it turns out. Three days later a young priest is found strangled in his chapel. The whole town of Littleboro is abuzz, and Ossie Delbardo, the town cop whose job heretofore mainly involved controlling football traffic on Friday nights, is not cut out to solve the murders.

With her barely opened B&B in danger of failing, and aided by her friend from high school and trusty handyman, Beth sets out to discover the truth of the murders. Littleboro has its share of characters, some of which are helpful and others misleading. There’s Crazy Reba who lives in a tree, bathes in any bathtub she finds empty, and dumpster dives; Verna, the town know-it-all and affectionate owner of Robert Redford, a huge white rabbit; and Miss Tempie Merritt, music teacher and organist who always wears hat, gloves, and lace-trimmed white socks. When Beth herself is attacked, there’s no more time for baking muffins and stenciling pineapples on the porch. She’s in a race to uncover her neighbors’ secrets before her hometown becomes her burial ground.
Genre: Cozy Mystery

I’m a huge fan of cozy mysteries, those fun and easy novels that I can get lost in for an afternoon. While authors like Christie and Sayers top the charts, my guilty pleasures are the themed series – psychic detectives, cupcake bakeries, you name it, I’ll read it! So when I heard about a new series featuring a Southern bed and breakfast I was all about it!

Beth recently moved back to her hometown and has started the lengthy (and expensive!) task of renovating her beloved grandmother’s home into a bed and breakfast. With the help of a seriously good-looking handyman, Beth’s dream is slowly becoming a reality – until the night Miss Lavinia checks in. Miss Lavinia’s family stretches back to the very founding of Littleboro and at one point, owned half the town. When she was younger, Lavinia left home and moved abroad, traveling all throughout Europe and living the high life. Now in her 80s, Lavinia decided to pack her things and move back home, first securing a room at Beth’s. The following morning, however, Beth discovers that during the night, Lavinia passed away. Things go from bad to worse when her death was ruled a homicide – there were traces of hemlock found in the body – and Beth’s the prime suspect.

I really don’t have a whole lot to say about Doing It at the Dixie Dew. It was a super short novel (250 pages!) and a good escape for a few hours. If you’ve read a cozy before, you’ll feel right at home here – this novel is extremely easy to read, though there were times when I felt that was more of a hindrance. Yes, it’s formulaic, but that’s the genre as a whole. When the Big Reveal happened, the villain explained his/her actions for a good few pages and even invited Beth over for a cup of tea (Southern charm all the way). It was clear there would be a romance between Beth and Scott, but I wasn’t feeling it at all. They certainly interact plenty over the course of the novel, but I wasn’t feeling any kind of spark between them and suddenly they were in bed together (then never mentioned it – or any kind of feelings for one another – again for the rest of the book). Perhaps there will be more in the sequel?

I suppose this is more of a mini review, but how much is there to say about a novel this size? It entertained me while it lasted, so on that point is succeeded, but I wasn’t overly wowed by it. Yes it was enjoyable, but there wasn’t anything particularly special or unique about the story or characters. Doing It at the Dixie Dew wasn’t a bad novel at all, but it wasn’t a stand-out story either. This was a solid average read if there ever was one and I’m a bit worried people might get the wrong impression by that. Let’s just say that if you’re a fan of cozies and want a new series to read, give this one a shot. If you’re brand new to the genre, however, this isn’t the one I would recommend.

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