A Dead Husband by Anna Celeste Burke
My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars
A Dead Husband is the first of a series of cozy mysteries, and it gets the Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery series off to a solid start. Our heroine is resourceful, clever, determined, loyal to her friends, and oh, yeah…wealthy. Very wealthy. This alone makes her stand out in a genre filled with heroines who are so often struggling to make ends meet. But as Jessica slowly learns, money doesn’t buy the really important things in life, like a happy marriage to a faithful husband.
After catching said husband in bed with a famous Hollywood blonde, Jessica retreats to her childhood home in Rancho Mirage, where she grew up surrounded by the beauty of desert sunsets and wealthy neighbors. She’s just trying to regroup, consider the direction her life is taking, and work up the nerve to sign those divorce papers. But before she can muddle through her grief and anger over the break-up of her marriage, her best friend’s husband is murdered. In trying to offer support and consolation, Jessica finds herself pulled into a mystery that grows more puzzling, and dangerous, every day.
I have read very few cozy mysteries, but this one seemed to me to have a bit more meat on the bones than many, and Burke demonstrates the excellent skills she honed during her career in academia. No sloppy writing, poor grammar, or misspelled words to pull you out of the story, and that’s a big plus, in my book. Or hers, as the case may be. 🙂 The plot unfolds at a measured pace, with a cast of interesting characters that grows with every chapter. (We should all have a St. Bernadette in our lives, I know that much!)
If you like mysteries with a plenty of bad guys, a touch of humor, and a whole lot of retail therapy, A Dead Husband should be just your cup of tea. And as an aside, I just started the second book of the series, A Dead Sister, and it’s off to an even better start. I think cozy mystery lovers everywhere will get a kick out of the Jessica Huntington–yes, of the Huntington Beach Huntingtons–Desert City Mysteries. Check out A Dead Husband today!