Drama, Mystery

Meet Isabel Puddles (Mitten State Mystery #1) by M.V. Byrne

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For an immersive experience of a cozy small-town mystery, this ticks all the boxes. This fact is both an advantage as well as a disadvantage. I will elaborate on the disadvantages first. The depth into which we are informed of all the dynamics between the townspeople and all their background information (sometimes starting from their birth) takes a lot of time and attention away from the main plot.
It reminded me of The winter Witness.
Although the number of pages does not amount to much, I struggled to keep reading by the time the actual plot begins. This happened even though once the story started, suspects were rounded up, arrests made, and official and unofficial investigation were carried out very briskly. I debated rating the book lower than I finally did because of the way things were moving along. Here is where the advantages of the writing helped boost its rating.
The content was not bad in any form or fashion. It may have been slow and made me impatient, but I cannot, in all honesty, say that anything was annoying in it.
Isabel and her whole history are introduced to us, as are her relationships with the various significant players in the narrative. The case unexpectedly surfaces, and theories are bandied about, arrests made. Amidst all this hullabaloo, our lead sticks to her guts and single-mindedly pursues what she sees as clues. She does this in an ‘I am an old woman, what harm could I do’ way. The last few chapters wildly deviate from the pace of the rest of the book. The cozy element is literally thrown out a moving car’s window as chaos descended. Overall it was an entertaining read, and I was glad I stuck with it.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.

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