Murder Comes By Mail

Murder Comes By MailMurder Comes By Mail by A.H. Gabhart
Series: Hidden Springs Mysteries
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Published by Revell on May 17, 2016
Pages: 352
Also in this series: Murder at the Courthouse
Also by this author: Murder at the Courthouse

 

About Murder Comes by Mail (from the back cover):
Deputy Sheriff Michael Keane doesn’t particularly enjoy being touted as the hero of Hidden Springs after pulling a suicidal man back from the edge of the Eagle River bridge in front of dozens of witnesses–a few of whom caught the breathtaking moments with their cameras. But the media hype doesn’t last long as a new story pushes its way into the public consciousness of Hidden Springs’ concerned citizens. 
Photos of a dead girl arrive in the mail, and Michael becomes convinced she was murdered by the man he saved. With a killer one step ahead, things in Hidden Springs begin to unravel. Now Michael must protect the people he loves–because the killer could be targeting one of them next.
 (from the publisher)

Murder Comes by Mail is the second book in the Hidden Springs Mystery series by bestselling author A.H. Gabhart (a/k/a Ann H. Gabhart). Since I have not yet had the pleasure of reading the first book, Murder at the Courthouse, this was my first exposure to the series, which is set in the fictional town of Hidden Springs, Kentucky. The main character is Michael Keane, a former Chicago police officer who is now the deputy sheriff in his hometown of Hidden Springs.

Keane is the type of character we expect to carry a series.

Keane is a likable and sympathetic character with believable motivations and depth to his personality. Based on my research, he’s the main character in the first book as well, which makes sense. Keane is the type of character we expect to carry a series.

The first couple of chapters get bogged down slightly with introducing various characters as they’re on their way to a play. And there’s some exposition—e.g., descriptions of the different characters, an explanation of why Keane is driving the women to the play, and so on. Thankfully this small amount of explaining on the author’s part does not get in the way of the story, at least not to any substantial extent.

As the body count increased, I raced to get to the end.

The action quickly heats up when Deputy Sheriff Keane pulls the suicidal man away from the Eagle River Bridge. When the mysterious photos arrived in the mail, I was definitely curious to find out what would happen next. As the body count increased, I raced to get to the end.

If you are bothered by quirky characters, especially older women with a lot of time on their hands, then this might not be the best cozy mystery for you.

Overall, the plot in Murder Comes by Mail is clever and the pacing is suspenseful. Gabhart throws in a number of tricky red herrings and kept me guessing. By the end of the story, I noticed some loose ends left hanging, which bothered me. Even so, the resolution was mostly satisfying and I would definitely look for more books in the Hidden Springs series.

If you’re a fan of romance, you’re likely to enjoy the romantic subplot, which is a sweet addition to the story.

If you are bothered by quirky characters, especially older women with a lot of time on their hands, then this might not be the best cozy mystery for you. Various older women in the town of Hidden Springs want to participate in solving the mystery and are constantly coming up with theories. While at times they’re amusing and insightful, this ensemble cast of characters might not be to everyone’s taste. However, if you like this sort of “village” cast, then be sure to check out Murder Comes by Mail.

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