In the first Georgia Peach Mystery, when murder threatens her family’s orchard, Nola Harper is ready to pick out the killer and preserve the farm’s reputation…
To help run the family peach farm during her parents’ absence, Nola Harper returns to her childhood home of Cays Mill, Georgia, and soon discovers that things back at the farm aren’t exactly peachy. A poor harvest and rising costs are threatening to ruin the Harpers’ livelihood, and small-town gossip is spreading like blight thanks to Nola’s juicy reputation as a wild teenager way back when. But Nola really finds herself in the pits when she stumbles upon a local businessman murdered among the peach trees.
With suspicions and family tensions heating up faster than a cobbler in the oven, this sweet Georgia peach will have to prune through a list of murder suspects—before she too becomes ripe for the killer’s picking…
This was a fun cozy mystery where the main character her family own a peach orchard. All the mentions of peaches and peach related dishes made my mouth water and now I am craving peach cobbler. I also liked the southern feel the book had and the small town feel with all the gossipers. It did take me a while to get through the book and while I did enjoy it it also felt like something was missing for me to really enjoy it, I just never got fully invested in the story. nevertheless it was a good start of the series and I am curious where the series goes next.
The murder mystery was done well, but I felt like the main character didn’t really actively participate in solving it. It is becoming a bit cliché in cozy mysteries now that the police officer either is the love interest or does such a bad job that someone else needs to help the case. In this case it’s the latter, the officer believes Hollis is the murderer. And Hollis is the husband of the main character her sister and as they value family here, the main character and her brother get involved in helping solve the crime and there’s a private investigator they hire as well. Although the private investigator didn’t really seem to contribute anything to the investigation and was just there to add some conflict and conversation scenes and stir up the issue about what happened in Nola her past. The main character mainly seemed to go and talk with a gossiper in the nail salon, ran into someone at the right moment and only had a few intentional trying to figure things out moment.
There was an interesting twist towards the end on how the murder mystery got solved, but I wasn’t really surprised either. There are multiple suspects form the first moment and one of my main suspects turned out to be the killer. There are some obvious hints that made sure I knew who was involved, just not sure exactly how. There’s also a small storyline about the main character her past and the main character never reveals what really happened until the end. I though the mystery didn’t really work there and rather just had known what had happened from the beginning as then I would’ve understood better. Now every time there was this hint about the mysterious happening that scared her away.
The main character Nola was okay enough. I liked her devotion to her family and how fervently she kept believing Hollis was innocent. She also does a lot to help her family farm and it was nice seeing her return to her home town and seeing her fit in the town. She did have a dump moment or two. And I never really fully felt invested or cared about her, but I am hoping that might change in the second book. There are some fun side characters, but mostly it stayed a bit flat and I had a hard time really getting a feel for anyone. I did like her two nieces, her friend Hattie and her neighbour Joe.
There is also a hint of romance, I thought for a bit it would be a love triangle, but it seemed the one guy was part of her past only. So I am kinda glad it won’t be a love triangle,but still didn’t really care about the romance. I liked both characters well enough, but just never really felt their connection.
To summarize: This was a fun and peachy cozy mystery. I liked the focus on peaches and the orchard. The story does a good job of giving you that southern small town feel feeling and I thought it was well done. The mystery was a bit predictable, as it was obvious who was involved in the murder it just wasn’t clear to me how they were involved. There was a nice twist at the end. The mystery about Nola her past fell a bit flat for me. I did like the characters well enough, but never fully got invested in their lives. I did like how Nola cared about her family and tried to help were possible. The romance didn’t really do anything for me, but I am glad it won’t be a love triangle. All in all it was a fun read and I will probably continue the series.