by Sandra Ardoin
Murder at the Courthouse is the first book in A. H. (Ann) Gabhart’s new series A Hidden Springs Mystery.
After a stint as a police officer in Columbus, Ohio, Michael Keane returned to Hidden Springs, the town his ancestors founded, disillusioned by the crime, especially, its effect on children. Michael has a heart for young people, a heart almost snuffed out in an automobile accident at fifteen. The accident left his parents dead and Michael in a coma, so he doesn’t remember much about his own young life.
The discovery of a body on the courthouse steps begins a series of events that turns everything Michael believes about his hometown and the people in it upside-down.
You went off to the big city and saw things happening there that you couldn’t do anything about. Terrible things.” … “So you thought you’d come back to your private little corner of the world where nothing bad ever happened, or at least nothing very bad.”
“What’s so awful about that?” …
… “Nothing, except you’re a little old to believe in fairy tales.
I’m not sure what category of mystery to place this book in. It’s written with a cozy feel, but the main character is a deputy sheriff, not a knitting grandmother. The romance is light, as is the faith element, but I expect both will grow in the coming books.
Overall, the mystery unwinds in an interesting fashion. However, in a couple of places, I felt the writing slipped into long passages of telling, rather than showing us the action in real time. Also, I wasn’t surprised by the culprit. (There’s a big hint.)
Even so, I enjoyed my time in Hidden Springs getting to know Michael, his aunt, and some of the more colorful people in the town. So I can say that whatever category you decide to place this story in, if you’re a mystery fan, make sure Murder at the Courthouse is somewhere on your bookshelf … after you’ve read it, of course. 😉
Like Michael, I was raised in a small town (though larger than Hidden Springs). I can relate to his way of thinking. When you grow up in such a place, it’s easy to slip on those rose-colored glasses and forget that life isn’t always like living in Mayberry. Has that been your experience? What did you love about the place where you grew up?
Disclosure of Material Connection: This book came to me free from the publisher, Revell Publishing, with the hope that I would mention it on this blog. There was no requirement for me to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
How will she escape the clutches of a lunatic? Or will she?
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Sandra Ardoin writes Inspirational Historical Romances.