Kate Collins’ fourth addition to her Goddess of Greene Street Mysteries is Gone but Not for Garden. Readers will find themselves drawn in by main character and detective Athena Spencer. She has only recently opened up her own detective agency with her boyfriend Case Donnelly, works for her family gardening store called Spencer’s, and also posts a blog as a way to vent about her family and personal life struggles and triumphs. However, she does remain anonymous in her blog, and it is amusing to see her family discuss it with such interest. Anyone who has a large family can appreciate and relate to how Athena has both love for her family as well as frustrations. While her family means well, they often push Athena’s boundaries and exasperate her. She does her best to be considerate and kind, while also remaining firm with her family. They mean well, and their pushing clearly comes from a place of love. Athena’s awareness of this makes her all the more relatable to those with more complicated families themselves. Athena also has a son and pet raccoon that add both a humorous element to the story, as well as interesting plot twists later on.
“Cozies certainly provide solace from many of the dark edges of the actual world.” — Edith Maxwell in Mystery Scene
I read a lot, and I read lots of cozies, partly thanks to my column in Mystery Scene. There I am restricted to reviewing mass market paperback originals, and I am generously showered with advance reading copies. I sort through them by reading the premise and a bit of the beginning. If the writing doesn’t hit me quite right, I skip that one, and check out another one. And while I certainly read many, many cozies, I am in no way claiming to have read even a comprehensive number of the books in this sub genre published this year. For that kind of scope, I highly recommend checking out Dru’s Book Musings, which is a comprehensive review blog of all things cozy. In addition, Dru has guest posts from authors and publishes a guide to what’s coming out, sometimes weekly.