As the year draws to a close, Deb Baker is back writing under the Hannah Reed moniker for Berkley Prime Crime with Beeline to Trouble. Everybody naughty and nice, let us sing, shout, and Santa shimmy. Aaahhh, no, not you. Yeah, you. No, not him, you. Please, don’t make me call out your name. Listen, I am trying to keep your lack of coordination under wraps. Hello there. Yes, you. Not him. You. Okay, Mrs. Claus off the dance floor. Now! Don’t pout. You are supposed to tear it up on the dance floor, Mrs. Kringle, not tear up cartilage. Scoot. Just you. Oh, don’t even try it, Mrs. Claus, remember you are shackled. Errr, I mean, you are married to Saint Nick and the one who looks like Nathan Fillion – yes, Richard Castle, stays with me…um, I mean here. I don’t give a flying hoof if you need him to tend to something in the barn. Ask one of the elves.
Seriously, now, tell your hubby to bring ya an ear wax remover and some batteries. What? For her hearing aid. Geez, I’m tryin’ to go legit and behave this season and everyone thinks I am an American Bad Ass like Kid Rock. Damn, that bad boy makes me all excited… to be a woman. Good gravy, I am behavin’! I’m just a straight up prankster. Word! Now, let me continue before Granny Claus heads back on the dance floor in her mini. My eyes, my eyes, bright light, bright light. Who the heck copped my Ray-Bans? Frosty! Enough of this nonsense. I don’t “borrow” his carrot in the middle of the night… for a snack. (wink)
When Moraine, Wisconsin, beekeeper Story Fischer gets a visit from her sister, Holly, everything is all a buzz. Holly is a tad anxious and enlists Story to pitch in and help her brother-in-law accommodate a contentious trio of expert food flavorists. Story’s grocery store, the Wild Clover, provides the provisions for breakfast.
However, during a tour of Story’s hives, one of the guests is discovered dead. Which is not what Story needs at this juncture, especially since she and her honey Hunter Wallace have finally decided to take the relationship to the next level and move in.
As if a corpse isn’t enough to toss a wrench into the relationship, Story becomes the primary suspect when the carrot juice served at breakfast contains poison. Story has to pull herself out of the sticky situation she is trapped in and to comb through the details to find a killer.
Reed conveys the sweetness smoothly with the fourth volume in the Queen Bee Mystery series. Reed’s deliverance and knowledge of the beekeeping world and Wisconsin setting is energetic, engaging, and enlightening. It’s obvious a few bees have been up her hive. What? I mean by the titillating tidbits she trails throughout Beeline to Trouble, Reed knows her stuff. Geez, can’t you just find the jolly this season. Oh, wait, I did, but his name wasn’t Jolly… it was Freddy! Fa- La- La-La-La.
Oh, and for all you nosey bees, he wasn’t fast and furious, he was deliberate and rigorous. (wink)
When it comes to Story Fischer and the Wisconsin denizens in Reed’s imaginative world she sparkles. Reed is a gem of a storyteller and this is Baker’s best series yet.