Bed and Breakfast and Murder (Fiona Fleming Cozy Mysteries Book 1) by Parri Larsen Book Review

My monthly book club chose this book as one of their June reads. I honestly wouldn’t have read this one except it was $0.99 on my kindle and I joined this club to read books I otherwise would never read. So here’s an honest review of this short and cheesy, cozy mystery.

This book is for you if…

… you need a lazy sunday afternoon read.

… you want something low-key and easy to digest.

… you think people passing gas is the highest point in comedy.

This story follows Fiona “Fee” Fleming, who recently moved back to her hometown, in Reading, Vermont, from New York City. There she tried to chase adventure, but in reality was unemployed at 28, and had a love life that consisted of a cheating boyfriend. Just as she was feeling lost, wondering “where do I go from here?”, her grandmother dies, leaving her a bed and breakfast named Petunia’s. She jumps on the fresh start, running the place until a man shows up to tell her the B&B was actually left to him. As she tries to figure out if this is true, she discovers a whole area of corruption in this perfect small town, USA and winds up the main suspect in a murder case. All the while, annoying sheriff – a man who surprise surprise, has the perfect bod, personality, and has the career Fee always wanted.

This story starts in a such a charming place, with Fiona unclogging a toilet in her recently acquired bed and breakfast. Here, here internal dialogue updates us on her grandmother’s death, her tragic ™ back story, and her clues us in on her sidekick, a pug whose main contribution to the story is his farts and (spoiler) a cop-out in the end.

Right away Fee lets us know she’s the kind of girl with an overly complicated Starbucks order, hires a cleaner for her house because she hates getting dirty , and has a love for overly complicated analogies. However, this spoiled city girl somehow pulls it off into a somewhat charming quirky personality, even if it’s a little flat.

Then enters trouble. Pete Wilkins, a man who has hated Fee’s father for a long time, claims Fiona’s late grandmother left Petunia’s to him. This bad guy is described as a man with an oily voice, towering figure, beer belly, beady eyes, and a comb over. I know, how intimidating.

He hands Fee an envelope, offering little explanation, and stating he was coming for the bed and breakfast in two days, claiming he was the rightful owner. Fee is shocked and pissed. She quickly heads home to discuss this with her parents. Only in the next chapter we find out he isn’t the bad guy, but rather, the murder victim. Who is the primary suspect? That’s right, the beloved Fee.

Thank goodness. Had this story turned out to only be “a slimy grease bag tricked my granny and I am gonna fix this!” I probably would have dropped the book.

The next main character we meet is the sheriff with the apparently panty dropping smile. However, due to Fee being the primary suspect, uncooperative, and then of course, deciding to investigate the murder herself, he hates her guts. With good reason.

The mayor, Olivia Walker, shows up at the murder scene to demand Petunia’s stay open as tourism is how she plans on keeping her town alive. Apparently, she’s a big enough pain that the sheriff listens to her. Not only that, but she keeps the media far off from the murder scene. Of course, the mayor doesn’t care at all about Fee’s well being, just how she appears to the town. Honestly, the only good character in this story.

Oh, and guess what. The deputies? Useless. Fee, however, notices clues they toss off as nonsense. She also gets most of her information by just painly asking people who tell her what she wants to hear because they’re either loyal to her dad (the retired sheriff), or they accidently slip up. She doesn’t do much persuading herself.

The story ends with a “big” plot twist but luckily Fee and her gassy pug save the day. The conclusion leaves everything wrapped up with a happy ending, but still offering hints to what the second book might face.

This story was boring. The writing was mediocre and just plain awkward. Even with all of it’s supposed to be twist and turns, I just wasn’t interested. It’s humor falls flat, just like all if the book’s characters.

Honestly, if you don’t like mind-numbing stories, don’t waste your time.

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