Review: Wedding Bell Blues by Ruth Moose

Wedding Bell Blues by Ruth Moose is the 2nd Dixie Dew Beth McKenzie Mystery (Available August 23, 2016).

Wedding Bell Blues begins with a paragraph that is guaranteed to grab the attention of any cozy mystery book lover.

When I heard Crazy Reba’s voice on the phone I knew immediately something was wrong. Really wrong. My first thought was where in the world did Reba get a cell phone? The homeless and street sleepers like Reba weren’t exactly flush extra cash (if any) every month. Maybe somebody had given her one of those phones where you buy the minutes upfront. A phone for her own protection. Some kind person, the thought of which made me feel bad since I had not been the one to think about it. Any other place I might have thought about a cell phone for safety. Protection for all kinds of things. But Littleboro? Not my Littleboro. Except these days it wasn’t safe to be alone and on the loose…even in Littleboro. 

Beth McKenzie, owner of The Dixie Dew, a former old Southern mansion she turned into a bed and breakfast, and the protagonist in Wedding Bell Blues, will gladly tell you that her town of Littleboro has its share of kooky characters. There’s Verna, the town know-it-all and affectionate owner of Robert Redford, a huge white rabbit, and Crazy Reba, who lives wherever the spirit takes her, bathes in any bathtub she finds empty, and is an expert at dumpster diving. Kooky, yes, but they’re part of Littleboro, and she cares for them. 

Reba’s frantic call to Beth saying that “God is dead” begins a chain of events that leads Beth to a murder mystery in her beloved town. It’s the murder of the man Reba calls God, and Crazy Reba believes she’s the one responsible! You see, Crazy Reba had been walking around the town of Littleboro sporting a huge glass bauble of a ring that she told one and all was her engagement ring from God and planning a June wedding.

Beth soon finds out why Reba calls her departed fiancé God. He drives a moving truck with the initials G.O.D on the back of it. Those initials stand for words Crazy Reba obviously didn’t notice: General Overnight Delivery. God’s actual name is Butch Winston Rigsbee, a sixty-three-year-old man from Akron, Ohio with a past!

Beth has her hands full with this new murder, but she’s prepared, having been involved with two others in the past; one at her Dixie Dew B and B and the other at the town Catholic Church. Beth’s just hoping to get Reba out of jail, but while getting clothes from the local Motel 3 for her, she becomes more involved than she’d like. Answering Reba’s cell phone, which she had absent-mindedly put into her pocket, she hears a threat from a woman caller who thinks Beth is Reba.

“I know where you are and what you’re doing with my thieving, no good, two-timing lizard of a husband. I’m going to cut off his tail and it won’t grow back. Whoever you are, Miss Hussy, I’m going to find you and when I do, I’ll kill you.  And don’t think you’re going to keep a cent of what you find. It’s mine. Mine.”

God, aka Butch Winston Rigsbee, it seems, has a wife who is rip-roaring angry at him and is determined to get whatever it appears that he has with him. Killing Reba would be part of her plan.

In between trying to solve the murder and spring Crazy Reba from jail, Beth has to cook for Ossie DelGardo’s wedding, run the B and B, and contend with threats on her life.

With the help of some interesting secondary characters—Ida Plum, Beth’s right-hand woman at the Dixie Dew B and B, sometime adversary and local policeman Ossie DelGardo, and the very likeable love interest, Scott—this book was a nice diversion and fun to read and review. Regarding Scott, there is a scene near the end of the book that is both sweet and sexy. 

“Sleeping bags,” he said and I felt something soft unroll at my feet. “Come.” He pulled me so close I felt his bowtie get caught in my ear. He flicked off the tie, and I heard him toss it on the floor. He took off his jacket and shirt, unzipped and slid off his pants. “Now,” he said. “Your turn. I’ll wait. We’ve got all night.” 

Let’s say that Beth is one lucky woman.

Wedding Bell Blues is not a page-turner, rather it is a book to be slowly savored with chapters re-read just for the pleasure of it. This is cozy writing at its best.

 

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Kristen Houghton is the author of nine top-selling novels, including For I Have Sinned and Grave Misgivings, books 1 and 2 in the bestselling new series, A Cate Harlow Private Investigation. Book 3 in the series, Unrepentant: Pray for Us Sinners, will be published in the fall of 2016. She is hard at work on a new series that features a paranormal investigator with distinct powers of her own.

Houghton is also the author of two non-fiction books and numerous short stories.Houghton is also the author of two non-fiction books and numerous short stories.

 

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