The Oakwood Mystery Series
by Leslie Nagel
In a charming cozy mystery series debut, Leslie Nagel’s irrepressible small-town heroine finds that her fellow book club members may be taking their Agatha Christie a bit too literally—and murder a bit too lightly.
Charley Carpenter has poured heart and soul into her clothing store, Old Hat Vintage Fashions. She’ll do anything to make it a success—even join the stuffy Agathas Book Club in order to cultivate customers among the wealthy elite of Oakwood, Ohio.
Although mixing with the most influential women in town has its advantages, Charley finds the endless gossip a high price to pay. But after two women with close ties to the Agathas are brutally murdered, everyone falls under threat—and suspicion. When key evidence indicates that both murders are the work of the same hand, Charley realizes that the killer has arranged each corpse in perfect imitation of crime scenes from the Club’s murder mystery reading list. She uses her membership in the Club to convince Detective Marcus Trenault to use her as an inside informant. Not that he could stop her anyway.
Intelligent, fearless, and every bit as stubborn as Marc is, Charley soon learns the Agathas aren’t the only ones with secrets to protect. Passions explode as she and Marc must race against time to prevent another murder. And if Charley’s not careful, she may find herself becoming the killer’s next plot twist.
I'm still a newbie when it comes to cozy mysteries, but this mystery is in a league of it's own! I'm also very hesitant to call it a cozy (more about that later). Charley is an owner of an vintage clothing store and is a part of the networking Agathas group - a mystery-reading book club. After women associated with the Agathas are being found dead, one by one, Charley starts seeing some connections. On the flip side, Marc is a detective using Charley as an informant - even though they have a rocky history.
As I said before - I hesitate to call this book a cozy mystery even though the cover of it very much screams COZY! What makes this story different is the added layer of romance. Sure, cozies have love stories, but this one has a steamy kind of love story. It was truly welcomed by THIS reader since I am a huge fan of both genres. I was happily surprised to find that both of these styles fit so well together.
Also, Charley has such a fantastic personality in that she is intelligent and clever as well as warm and caring. She makes for such a wonderful protagonist. I will definitely look into more titles from this series!