A Grave Issue by Lillian Bell

August 1, 2018     Elle    

A Grave Issue by Lillian BellA Grave Issue by Lillian Bell
Publication Date: February 13, 2018
Series: A Funeral Parlor Mystery #1
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

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My Rating : three-stars

After an on-air gaffe goes viral and jeopardizes her career, journalist Desiree Turner retreats home to Verbena, California for some peace and quiet. She begins working one of the quietest jobs around: presiding over funerals for her great-grandfather’s funeral parlor. But the action seems to follow her as a fistfight breaks out between neighbors Rosemarie Brewer and Lola Hansen at one of the first funerals she’s in charge of running. It exposes a nasty dispute and Rosemarie’s husband, Alan, is found murdered shortly after.

Lola’s husband, Kyle, is immediately arrested. Desiree, whose own father’s death was devastating, has always viewed Kyle as a second father. Determined to clear his name, Desiree jumps head first into the investigation and quickly discovers that Alan had several unsavory habits at his job and in his personal life, including putting assets into his mistress’s account to hide them from Rosemarie. People murder for money and love all the time, and there’s no telling who he offended just enough to push them over the edge.

Desiree is looking in all the right places, but she better catch the killer fast before they come for her next in A Grave Issue, the clever series debut by Lillian Bell.

Lillian Bell is off to a good start with this new series, A Funeral Parlor Mystery. One of the main things I liked about this book was how determined our heroine, Desiree is when it comes to finding out who really killed Alan. Even more, the author adds elements to the end of the story that will certainly pique readers interest in terms of getting the next installment (something in which I will be doing). So I think it’s an all around winner in these aspects. On the downside, the story was a little too short for me. I think if the author added a little bit more character history and sleuthing then I would have liked it a little better. Everything just happened so quickly and cleanly that I found myself wondering if there was really any mystery at all. 

Desiree has returned home after and embarrassing episode at her former job got her canned. Thankfully, she has a family business she can return to- running a funeral home- so she won’t be completely out of a job. But upon her returning, the man who she considers her father, is arrested for a murder! Did he commit it? It’s unlikely. Desiree knows what kind of a man he is and knows he gets squeamish with blood and wouldn’t hurt a fly. So she jumps on the case herself in order to find out who the real killer is before it’s too late! 

Readers should be aware that there is also another mystery entwined with this one. It sets up a premise for the next story which looks like it would be amazing (I can’t wait to see what happens). Unfortunately, I can’t say what this mystery is as it would ruin the whole story, but I think many who read this one will be really intrigued. 

Overall, I liked this book but I didn’t love it. As I mentioned, everything happens very quickly and when you read it just as fast it the mystery aspects kind of slip past you. In addition to this, while I did like Desiree, I felt like I didn’t really get to know her throughout the story. It would have been nice is she was built up a little bit more- past history, family history, etc. Perhaps as the series progresses we will get to know her better though. 

If you are looking for a new cozy mystery series this year, you can certainly start with this one. It’s good even though it wasn’t a particular favorite of mine. That said, it doesn’t mean it won’t be a favorite of yours. 


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