|Image by Getty Images via @daylife|
|"Didn't you hear about the agent who was shot through the|
head and left to die in a penthouse condo just last week?
And another one yesterday, first a head-shot and then a
tumble down a split-level colonial's flight of basement
stairs."...Across this great country of ours more than
twenty agents were killed on the job last year....they're now
carrying guns to protect themselves while working."
By Sandra Balzo
I hadn't had the chance to read Balzo since the beginning of her Maggy Thorsen Mystery series, so I was pleasantly surprised that her latest, Triple Shot had taken on the maturity of a seasoned, well-grounded series that both feels comfortable to sink into, but had been updated enough to bring readers new enthusiasm and enjoyment. I don't profess to be a reader of Chick Lit, but I could not help but notice the inclusion of new terms that you might hear on reality television or entertainment programs that spotlight on the dress, activities and life of the rich and famous (or wannabees)...especially when discussions by or about the "Barbie table"--a group of the social elite who came to spend time at Uncommon Grounds after their tennis to gossip and enjoy their free time while Maggy and her staff served them. Of course, once in a while, one of the customers would even share with Maggy:
"As in Jimmy Choo, the shoe designer. [Maggy thought] All I could do these days was visit the high-end shoes at Saks Fifth Avenue, like I was touring a museum. Once a salesperson even let me touch one. "The 'other Choo' being?"
Aside from that, however, Balzo continues to bring us fun whodunit mysteries that quickly pull you in and guessing, trying, if you're like me, to solve the puzzle before the author shares it...especially when Maggy Thorsen takes personal interest and decides that she needs to solve the case, even though her "boy-toy" and sheriff, Jack Pavlik is "officially" on the case!
Maggy and Sarah Kingston are partners in Uncommon Grounds which is located next to a commuter rail line to Milwaukee. The shop had been recently relocated into a building in the older part of Brookhills, Wisconsin, that had been inherited by Sarah. In fact, Sarah had become even more involved with the new shop--to the detriment to her realty office. So much so that her staff had dwindled down to one new agent, who was not yet really able to act on her own and had filed a legal suit against Sarah for the lack of leadership and training she had expected to receive.
But Brigid Ferndale was found murdered not too long after that... Found because a certain strange smell had invaded the coffee shop above!
Her death followed two other agents and the other women had all been involved in showing a listing when they were found. But Brigid had been found in a secret underground room that was located under Uncommon Grounds! Interestingly though, neither Sarah nor Maggy had known the room was there... But, there was no question that Sarah would be suspected so Maggy really had no choice but to try to help her friend and business partner, right?
The underground room actually had been the location where members of the mob would privately wait for the train. It was historically significant as part of a group of buildings that had been involved in a deadly shootout during which many of the mob, the FBI and a local restaurant owner had been killed. Part of the story was that a million dollars had been onsite and had never been discovered.
So, while a real estate agent mystery is being investigated, there is also a television celebrity who has come to town to shoot live from the area, making the claim that he knows where the money is hidden and will reveal all during his televised documentary which would include a tour of the restaurant where the incident had occurred as well as revealing a secret tunnel to a next-door slaughterhouse where it was rumored that more than cattle met their death and where the money was supposed to have been stashed.
Being asked to cater the activities surrounding this program placed Maggy right where she wanted to be--and where she was most likely to be in danger!
In case you didn't know it, in a cozy mystery, the "civilian" nearly always solves the case...LOL And that's exactly why readers enjoy them. Of course, cozies also many times come in a series and we begin to look forward to reading more about the wonderful characters that we all come to love! Try Sandra Balzo's Maggy Thorsen mystery series if you haven't already! Be prepared and relax with a...Triple Shot of your favorite beverage! Highly recommended!
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