Murder at the Courthouse

Murder at the CourthouseMurder at the Courthouse by A.H. Gabhart
Series: Hidden Springs Mysteries
Genres: Suspense
Published by Revell on October 20, 2015
Pages: 336
Also in this series: Murder Comes By Mail
Also by this author: Murder Comes By Mail

 

About Murder at the Courthouse (from the back cover):

The Hidden Springs town busy body begins her day the exact same way, every day, except for this day. On this day, her day begins with discovering a murder victim on the front steps of the courthouse. When the victim is discovered to be an out of towner, the residents of Hidden Springs aren’t worried about there being another murder because things like that just don’t happen in their town. Michael, who is the deputy sheriff, is determined to figure out the details of the murder. When his boss takes ill and orders a lake to be searched for a murder weapon, Michael goes along with it just to keep his boss off his back. But, when the search turns up a car, the town is once again set on edge. What is happening to the small peaceful town of Hidden Springs?

 

This was my first book by Ann H. Gabhart and I have to say I really enjoyed it! While the beginning pacing was a bit slow for me, once I hit the halfway mark, the story picked up and I found myself not wanting to put it down. I was captivated with the “who dunnit” aspect. Amazingly enough, I guessed who it was! I NEVER do that, but I tried to pay super close attention to the details and nailed it!

I hit the halfway mark, the story picked up and I found myself not wanting to put it down.

I was also intrigued with Michael’s story. He lost both of his parents in an automobile accident and nearly lost his own life. His aunt prayed for him daily and wouldn’t give up on him. I really enjoyed Michael’s character, it was very fitting of a small town, everybody knows everybody, deputy sheriff. His heart was for the people of his town. He even had a soft spot for the trouble maker in town, Anthony. Anthony’s story was so well written, I even found myself routing for him too!

I really enjoyed Michael’s character, it was very fitting of a small town, everybody knows everybody, deputy sheriff.

There was a slight bit of romance mixed here and there throughout the story, but it was really nice to not have it be in the foreground the whole time. This story is definitely more cozy suspense and who dunnit than a romance.

I really enjoyed this story and look forward to reading the next ones in this series!

–Jodie


I love cozy mysteries.  This time of year (fall, winter) I love them even more.  So when I heard that Gabhart’s October release was in fact a cozy mystery, I couldn’t wait to read it! When I found out that Murder at the Courthouse was a cozy mystery set in my own (and Gabhart’s) beloved Kentucky, I very nearly fangirl clapped in delight.

The story begins with a good dose of charming humor, despite the rather macabre discovery made by the town busybody on her daily trek to the courthouse.

Cozy mysteries follow a certain formula – small town with quirky but endearing residents, shocking murder that never happens in their town (unless of course the main character owns a crafting shop or knows someone who does – those always seem to bring out homicidal tendencies…), a local eatery that doubles as a gossip hub, and of course a faithful pet. Murder at the Courthouse fits the pattern perfectly.

Anthony, the troubled teen, grew on me the most as the story progressed, and I’m most anxious to follow his story in later books.

The story begins with a good dose of charming humor, despite the rather macabre discovery made by the town busybody on her daily trek to the courthouse.  A fun way to introduce most of the main players in the story, too, by the way. I liked the blend of characters – their quirks, the turf wars between law enforcement, the typical-to-a-small-town way that everyone knows everybody else’s business – though no one person especially stood out as my favorite. Anthony, the troubled teen, grew on me the most as the story progressed, and I’m most anxious to follow his story in later books.  The hint of romance between Michael and his childhood sweetheart intrigued me as well; hopefully, Gabhart will pursue that in future books too.

In a cozy mystery, the mystery is integral but some predictability is really part of the genre. At times while reading Murder at the Courthouse, I found myself hollering the solution at the pages as though hoping my words would somehow penetrate the characters’ apparent cluelessness.  At other times, the plot’s twists took me completely by surprise.

A nice blend of quirky, predictable, and surprising, Murder at the Courthouse proves to be an enjoyable first book for Gabhart’s new Hidden Springs Mysteries.

A nice blend of quirky, predictable, and surprising, Murder at the Courthouse proves to be an enjoyable first book for Gabhart’s new Hidden Springs Mysteries.  Readers will embrace the characters and become invested in finding out what happens to them as the series continues.  Though a bit heavy in narrative and light on dialogue at the beginning of the story, it picks up the pace nicely to head for a stunning conclusion.  Perfect for cozy mystery fans everywhere.

–Carrie

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