The Silver Bear Shop and Factory might be the cutest place around, but there’s nothing warm and fuzzy about murder . . .
As manager of the family teddy bear shop and factory, thirty-one-year-old Sasha Silverman leads a charmed life. Well, except for the part about being a single divorcée with a ticking biological clock in small-town Silver Hollow. And that’s just kid’s stuff compared to Will Taylor, the sales rep who’s set on making drastic changes to the business her parents built from scratch—with or without Sasha’s approval . . .
But before Will digs his claws in, someone pulls the stuffing out of his plan . . . and leaves his dead body inside the factory. Reeling from shock, Sasha’s hit with more bad news—police suspect her hot-tempered Uncle Ross may have murdered him. Sasha knows her uncle would never do such a thing, and she’s launching her own little investigation to expose the truth. As she tracks Will’s biggest rivals and enemies for clues, Sasha can’t get too comfy—or she’ll become the next plaything for a killer . . .
“A twisty mystery tale with a likable protagonist and a colorful supporting cast. Sure to be a very enjoyable series!”—Livia J. Washburn, bestselling author of Black and Blueberry Die
“Cute and cuddly on the outside, murder and mayhem on the inside—I love this book!!! Totally adorable.”—Duffy Brown, bestselling author of Braking for Bodies
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By Meg Macy
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2017 Meg Macy
All rights reserved.
By this time in my life, at thirty-one, I had planned to be a happy suburban wife chauffeuring three kids and the dog in a van. That plan had not exactly panned out.
Instead I was single and channeling my love for children into managing my parents' teddy bear shop in Silver Hollow, Michigan. I consoled myself with the knowledge that I could make kids happy, helping them choose a best friend, and then send them home. No tears, no temper tantrums, only happy faces and squishy hugs for their new toys.
"Hey, lady? Catch!"
A little boy tossed a bear, which I grabbed before it bounced off the ceiling fan. "You can call me Ms. Sasha," I said, and placed the bear in a bin chock-full of other brown bears. "Let's not play catch, though."
He flashed a mischievous grin and grabbed a white bear. This time, I gave him an I dare you stare. The little rascal squinted at me, gauging if I was serious, and then settled for swinging the bear around by one ear. That didn't worry me. Our bears were nearly indestructible — depending on the abuse, of course.
"Daniel John," his mother said, "put that back. We're trying to choose one for your sister Sarah's birthday."
"Actually, he may have chosen the perfect bear for her — it's a polar bear," I said, smiling at Daniel. "That size fits any of our clothing, like the purple floral dress with the matching sandals."
Three racks included a display of shoes and fun accessories such as skateboards, balls, and sports items, tea sets, tables, and chairs, to fit all sizes of our bears. I'd convinced my dad that last-minute urges to purchase an outfit or toy for a gift bear would boost sales. He was skeptical until the profit figures soared within three months.
"Yes, how sweet." The woman took the bear from her son, holding it up to stare into its eyes. "Sarah loves the polar bears at the zoo. Sarah would love the purple dress and the sandals. And that straw hat! She could decorate it with tiny flowers, too."
"Certainly. I can ring you up whenever you're ready."
Meanwhile her son had scampered up the wide stairs in the central round tower of the Silver Bear Shop. We called the tower the Rotunda. Customers always gasped in delight while they admired our Parade of Bears along the inner curved wall, displayed in special five-shelf acrylic boxes. The Bears Around the World each held a tiny flag, and the Branded Bears from Gund, Boyds, Steiff, and Lloyd ranged from oldest to newest.
"I'm so glad we stopped in." The woman glanced around for her son and checked her watch. "Daniel John! You have a dentist's appointment, and we have to get you new shoes for school. If you're not down here in three seconds ..."
"I'll go up and see where he is," I offered, since my sister had wandered in from the office. Maddie could handle swiping the customer's credit card and packing up her purchases.
I figured the kid would be safe upstairs jumping on "Mr. Silver." Not the biggest stuffed bear in the nation but, at eight feet, giant enough for children to crawl over his fluffy legs or have their photo taken sitting in his lap.
I took the shallow stairs two at a time. First I glanced into the side room with the array of "profession" bears dressed in costumes — doctor, nurse, lawyer, and teacher — which lined the wall display shelves. The boy wasn't there. In the loft playroom, the plastic tea set, table, and chairs, plus several well-loved crochet teddy bears, were scattered across the carpet. Daniel landed on poor Mr. Silver with an audible "oof."
"Your mom is calling you. Time to go, and thanks for visiting!"
He scrambled to his feet. "Who's that?" Daniel pointed to a framed photo on the wall.
"My grandfather, who inspired my dad to open this shop."
"He looks old."
Daniel ran for the stairs before I could laugh. Kids — rascals or angels — were always honest. In the photograph, eighty-year-old T. R. Silverman posed with the bears he sewed by hand for his children, nieces, nephews, and the local neighbors.
"Miss you, Gramps." I quickly tidied up before heading back down to my sister, who manned the counter. "That was a nice sale, wasn't it?"
"Polar bear, clothes, and a small bear for the brother. Best yet this week." Maddie squinted at the cell phone in hand. "When was the last time you talked to Mom or Dad?"
"Uh. It's been a while."
"I sent a text to Mom on Monday. Almost three days, and she hasn't answered yet."
I shrugged. "Maybe they're busy."
Madeline and I didn't look at all like siblings. I cleared five-ten, wore my blond hair pulled back, and forced myself to swim, walk, and pedal to counterbalance my true passion for cookies. At five-two, with her dark pixie-styled hair, pale skin, and brown eyes, she embodied Audrey Hepburn's waiflike sweetness. She could wear anything and look cute, stylish, or hot. Today she wore a red cardigan over a white tee, red capris with matching espadrille sandals, and dangling earrings that flashed a rainbow of tiny seed beads.
Fashion with flair. My silver metallic shirt was wrinkled, like I'd slept in it, over blue twill pants and sneakers. Maybe I needed a shopping intervention.
"Mom always texts me about what she's doing," Maddie said, clearly worried. "And I'm swamped, so I haven't paid that much attention like I should."
"We both have been swamped."
"And you still haven't found that file of invoices," she reminded me.
I groaned. Maddie, far more organized than me, was a stickler for filing everything that wasn't nailed down. By contrast, I was always misplacing things. My keys, my cell phone, the staff schedule — which didn't include Will Taylor, our company's salesman and PR expert, who kept his own hours. He gave me the willies. Pun intended. But Maddie kept track of his comings and goings for the most part.
I caught a glimpse of two large SUVs pulling into the parking lot. A gaggle of little girls, adorable in their Girl Scout Brownie vests, tumbled out into the sunshine and then lined up behind two leaders. I waved my sister back behind the counter.
"Better stay put, Mads. The tour's here."
"I've got a ton of work, and a half-finished post for Facebook about the teddy bear picnic on Monday. See this adorable photo?"
She held up her cell phone. Two teddy bears sat on a red-checkered cloth, a teapot between them, with china cups and plates, and a tiny bear peeping out of the wicker hamper. My sister was a whiz on social media, posting photos, drawings she made, memes with bears — toys and real animals — on the shop's Web site, Twitter feed, Facebook page, Pinterest, you name it. Über-talented with pen and ink, watercolor, whatever she put her mind to do.
"Shamelessly adorable. I gotta run, though. I'm starting to wonder if we need to hire a full-time sales assistant."
"That would get Will's blood boiling." Maddie frowned. "He wants all our sales reports in time for the meeting tonight. He's already moaning and groaning again about staff —"
"Wait — what meeting?"
"Didn't you get his e-mail? Or his text message?"
I retrieved my phone and swiped it, but the screen didn't light up. Dead battery. Again. Maddie grinned while I scrabbled under the counter for the charger and plugged it in. Then I texted an order to Fresh Grounds, the local coffee shop and small bakery. Will had been gone for three weeks back east, doing who knows what. I loathed his frequent complaints whenever he returned to the office. The peace and quiet during his absence had been heavenly.
"He better not spring another stupid idea on us," I said.
"Let's hope he didn't convince Dad to cut jobs. You know he's been wanting that."
"Over my dead body."CHAPTER 2
I rushed outside to greet the tour guests. Warm rays of sun bathed my face, although the early September heat would soon overtake the day. This weekend, the Labor Day holiday meant a parade through the village, our teddy bear picnic event, and extra hours at the shop. I breathed fresh air deep into my lungs. That braced me for my other job as tour guide, showing off my parents' dream-come-true business to seniors, children, or a range of ages.
"Welcome to the Silver Bear Shop and Factory." I flashed my brightest smile at the two dozen giggling, squirming Brownies. "Looks like you're ready to have fun, ladies! Stay on the painted paw prints — see the stones set in the path? Follow me."
Luckily, the troop leaders kept the eager young girls under control. We strolled beneath the covered walkway between the shop and factory, where purple clematis entwined the white posts supporting the roof. The lush green lawn against the garden's colorful flowers made for a pretty setting. The building interior wouldn't offer visitors that same serenity, however, given its rough wooden walls and beamed ceiling.
"Gather around in a half circle. Eyes on me! One, two, three," I counted slowly, and then pushed a stray blond hair out of my eyes. The troop quieted down after the last two girls stopped poking each other. "Before we head into the factory, listen to the story of my grandfather, T. R. Silverman. Can anyone tell me his first name? I'll give you a hint."
When I held up a brown bear, all the girls shouted, "Teddy!"
"Yes. He was named after President Theodore Roosevelt. Grandpa T. R. loved to sew stuffed bears for his family and the neighbors' children. Times were hard during the Depression. Many people didn't have jobs, and some didn't have enough to eat. They couldn't afford toys for birthdays or Christmas. So Grandpa T. R. cut the teddy bears' fabric from old feed sacks and sewed the pieces together. Then he stuffed them with cotton and gave them as gifts. Just inside the door, we'll see three original bears."
With that, I opened the factory door wide. The troop leaders kept the girls in two half circles so they could view the display case. I pointed to the closest bear.
"That patched one was my dad's, and he passed it to me. My younger sister didn't get a chance to play with Patches, though. His head had come loose. Over here in this display box — remember, follow the tracks!" I pointed to the painted paw prints. "These are my grandpa's tools. Scissors, needles, and all the thread, plus a sample of the burlap feed sacks he used. Can anyone guess how he used the corduroy fabric?"
One girl's hand shot up. "For the nose?"
"Good guess! That and the paw pads. Today we use a sturdy felt."
"What did your grandpa use for stuffing?" one girl asked.
"His very first bears had straw or corn husks, but they tended to get wet and moldy. Then he switched to cotton. Let me tell you how he started working at twelve years old. You've all seen the Quick Mix factory, right?"
Several piped up with, "It's near our school," and, "Behind our playground!"
"The girls wrote letters to Quick Mix asking for a tour, like we did here," one leader said. "We also visited the city offices and took part in a flag-raising ceremony. After marching in the parade on Monday, the girls will earn their community badge."
"And they earned money to buy a large teddy bear for our elementary school auction," the second leader said. "The profits will go to help the Wags and Whiskers pet shelter."
"Our company would love to donate a second bear for the auction." I ignored the fact that Will would rant against that idea, since he'd shot down the last chance we had to participate in a charity function. "Let's begin the tour, but please stay behind the railing at all times. We want you to stay safe at all times, girls. Each section shows the production process, assembling, stuffing, and then selling them in our shop next door."
"My mom says they're expensive," one girl said.
I smiled. Our teddy bears lasted three times longer than cheaper stuffed animals due to quality controls and a careful manufacturing process. Mentioning that fact seemed pointless, however. The troop came for a tour, not to hear a sales pitch.
We stopped at the fabric storage area, where the long rolls of fur in various colors were stacked on shelves. "We prefer realistic colors for our bears," I said. "White for polar bears, black, silver, and brown ranging from light tan to the darkest brown."
"Why are there silver bears?" The girl pushed up her glasses with a squint. A leader shot her a warning look for speaking up a second time, but I smiled.
"The Mexican grizzly bear had a grayish-white coat, although they're now thought to be extinct. Because of Grandpa T. R. Silverman, we used 'Silver' for our business name." I led them along the path until we stopped at the cutting machine. "This is where our staff cuts the fabric. We stack the fur in alternating layers, fuzzy side up against fuzzy side down, and so on. The dies are like cookie cutters in the shape of arms, legs, torsos, and heads."
"What kind of fur are the bears made from?" one leader asked.
"Our most expensive bears are mohair, which is shorn from long-haired goats and woven into cloth before it's dyed, and also alpaca pelts. But we use synthetic fur for most of our bears. The hydraulic press machine cuts through all of the layers at tremendous pressure." I pointed to the cutting machine. "That's my uncle. He runs the factory side of the business founded by my father."
I didn't mention the dangers of operating the cutting press. Uncle Ross, who was busy stacking layers, lost part of two fingers five years ago, but refused to admit his carelessness. He resembled a sailing captain with grizzled gray hair, a bushy beard, and the navy corduroy cap he always wore. Tall and thin, almost skeletal at sixty-three, he favored Hawaiian shirts and khaki pants with plenty of pockets; he wore dock shoes without socks, summer and winter, as if he'd just stepped off a sailboat. Uncle Ross deliberately ignored the kids. I couldn't remember a time when he didn't act gruff, like an ornery bear woken from hibernation.
"From here, two of our staff work as a team on bears throughout the stations, trading them to check quality," I said, and drew the girls forward to the next area. Sewing machines lined up in several rows. "Say hello to Deon and Pete."
The girls chimed a greeting in unison. Pete waved, slouched as usual, hair half in his face. Deon didn't notice; he worked fast, wearing earbuds and tapping his foot in rhythm to his rap music, so focused on packing an order into a big box. I drew the girls to the next team, where Harriet and Joan sat at their sewing machines — one sewing ears on a white bear's head, the other sewing limbs on a silver bear. Lois and Flora were hand-sewing the eyes of their tan bears.
"Standards in the United States are very strict. The bears' eyes have to be secure to avoid any choking hazard —"
"Ach-choo!" A leader sneezed into her elbow. "I'm sorry."
"Tiny bits of fur, threads, or fluff always float around in the air," I said, half in apology, "although we try to keep it down with an air filtration system."
"How many bears do you make?" one girl asked.
"Around sixty to seventy each week." If things didn't break down, I thought to myself, since one of the sewing machines had gone haywire last week. "Each team takes their finished pieces to the stuffing machine. Our tiniest bears are soft, without the pin and lock washers on our larger bears. That's what allows a bear's arms and legs to move."
"But how would a washer make them move?" several girls asked at once.
I pointed to the joint of my index finger. "Everyone hold up their hand and then wiggle your fingertip. Pin and lock washers are sort of like the 'bones' inside your finger. We can't put them into our tiniest bears, since there's not much room. But our larger bears can lift their arms to hug you back," I said with a smile. "Now, the torso is the last part to finish. Here's the stuffing machine, but please stay behind the ropes."
Two girls wrinkled their noses. "It stinks!" The troop all convulsed into loud laughter, and I joined them.
"It's been oiled recently. Once a worker places the unstuffed bear on the nozzle, they press that pedal near the floor — it fills the toy at a fast rate, faster than a speeding car. They have to make sure the bear is stuffed the same throughout, which is tricky. The seams might burst if the bear is too full, or it might feel limp and squishy with too little fiber filling."
Lois, Flora, Harriet, and Joan waved at the girls. "Why can't each of them sew the same thing? Like one all the arms, and the other all legs," one leader asked.
"Too boring," Flora said with a hearty laugh.
I nodded. "It also ensures a quality product. They check and recheck each other's work, though. The very last parts the team sews are the tags, using a ladder stitch, right under the tail." Many of the girls giggled, and I heard a few whispered "bear butts" before the leader hushed them. "Then we attach the Silverman Bear Factory cardstock tag to the left ear with a plastic tab."
Excerpted from Bearly Departed by Meg Macy. Copyright © 2017 Meg Macy. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The small family-owned Silver Bear Shop and factory is in the middle of tumult. Sasha Silverman is now running things, after having divorced her husband of one year and returning to Michigan, allowing her parents to retire. Still a solid family business, her sister Maddie handles the paperwork and artsy designs, and her uncle is in charge of the shop. But, before he left Sasha in charge, her father hired a Sales Rep, one Will Taylor, a brash ‘sales guy’ who while not oozing slime, is distasteful enough to keep everyone on edge when he’s around. When Will announces at a staff meeting that production is moving to China and jobs will be lost, everyone is in an uproar. And nothing that Sasha can do or say, especially when she can’t roust her parents on the phone, have everyone upset. And then, Will is found dead, on the factory floor, bear stuffing in his mouth. Oh from first to last, Sasha was wonderful and the whole concept of the bears, patterns, special events (Teddy Bear Picnic and a Tea Party in planning) are wonderful, and her determination to ask questions, many just in trying to settle the events in her own mind, keep the story moving forward. With one employee hiding her past, another in jail for drug possession, a missing neighbor and Will’s list of infidelities coming to light, not to mention his own marital issues, the potential for ‘who did it” are rife. Twists and turns galore, with another body that hints to drugs and the ongoing worries about her father’s health and her mother’s lack of support in keeping the business open, the story twists and turns. Then her ex shows up, flashy and brash, and her sister Maddie seems to be out of sorts. Shorthanded in the factory, secrets coming out about nearly everyone in town and a final confrontation lead to the murderer, with one final showdown. A wonderfully clever story that brought Teddy Bears to the forefront – with plenty of descriptions, information and even a tour for the Girl Scouts, Meg Macy’s first book brought characters, twists, tension and a ton of cute to the table, and had me racing through the pages to get to the end. With several new options for many of the characters we met, I can’t wait to read the next. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
The small town of Silver Hollow is the home of the Silver Bear Shop, a family run teddy bear factory. Sasha Silverman has just gone through a divorce and has returned home to the family shop. Her parents have retired from the shop and left the running of the business in Sasha’s hands along with her sister Maddie and Uncle Ross. But she has one big hurtle, sales man Will Taylor who is trying to take control behind Sasha’s back. Will announces that the production of the teddy bears is going to be sent overseas to the uproar of the whole factory. But that will come back to bit him when later that night Sasha and Maddie find Will’s body. If that was not scandal enough, the police believe Uncle Ross is the killer. So Sasha decides to take it upon herself to look into the murder of Will. I love the setting with the wonderful little town and the teddy bear shop. I love Sasha, Maddie, and Ross. They work well together and help draw you into the mystery. I liked the mystery but did not really have me really guessing. This is a great start to a new cozy mystery series. I liked the cute town and shop and can’t wait to find out what Sasha is going to get into next.
Bearly Departed is the first in a brand new series from author Meg Mims writing as Meg Macy. This Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear Mystery series begins as the Silver Bear Shop and Factory manager, Sasha Silverman, stumbles upon a dead body in the store's factory. When that body turns out to be the sales manager who her Uncle Ross threatened after learning that he was cutting jobs and sending production overseas, Sasha is determined to prove her uncle's innocence and save her family's business. Murder is bad for business, after all. This is one of those rare stories that I'm tempted to read as many times as possible until the next book in the series is released. It's so easy to submerge myself into Sasha's small town as she, armed with her adorable canine sidekick, Rosie, introduces readers to Silver Hollow and digs into local gossip. Piecing together everyone's whereabouts the night of the murder uncovers secrets that make Sasha rethink how idyllic her town really is. She returned home after a devastating divorce, but it seems she has lived the past seven years with blinders on. When the blinders come off she questions how well she really knows her employees, neighbors, and even her younger sister, Maddie. I love how this story doesn't just focus on Sasha butting into the lives of her fellow business owners as she attempts to unravel a tangled web of suspicion. Every chapter drives your curiosity to know more about Sasha and her family, and the history of their family business. Her parents, sister, and uncle have strong personalities that come across in the dialogue. The dynamic of her family isn't easy and perfect, but their banter, affection, and arguments make them very real. At the moment, Sasha's ex and hot-shot lawyer, Flynn, is the only "romantic interest" in the story. I do look forward to seeing how his role in the story affects Sasha and whether or not a true romance takes place in this series. Bearly Departed makes me giddy with glee. It encompasses the heart of cozy mystery from the picturesque town to the cast of characters that remind you of people in your own life. If you love Aurora Teagarden, you'll love Sasha Silverman! *ARC provided via Goodreads giveaway*
Meg Macy really has some clever thinking! This was a great book. I'm very excited for the second in the series. It has a lot to offer.
[This book was a library loan. It will not show as a verified review] Not everything is as it seems in Silver Hollow Michigan since Sasha and her sister Maddie have room deal with the bizarre death of the sales representative from their small Teddy Bear Factory. Will is found in the factory, and his death sets off wild speculation as to who did it. With all of that it really does seem that the facade of an idyllic small town cracks faster than the icing on a teddy bear themed cookie. Add returning parents, rumors of selling the place and drug dealing, and you have an interesting fast paced read. Sasha and her "family"are well developed characters with just enough spunk to keep you reading straight through the night. Recommended
Sasha Silverman, like many protagonists, finds herself back in her hometown at the age of 31, helping her sister Maddie and Uncle Ross run the family's teddy bear factory and shop in SIlver Hollow, Michigan. Sales rep Will Taylor seems to be universally detested by the factory workers who are continually threatened with jobs moving overseas. When the sisters find him murdered near the stuffing machine, the easy breezy plot picks up. I like the rapport both Sasha and Maddie have with the townspeople and their willingness to continually host teddy bear events in the face of this bit of unpleasantness. There are a lot of characters to keep track of and I'm not sure if all will make the cut and return in the next book, but the return of their semi-retired parents and Sasha's ex husband certainly warrant more storylines!
This is the first book in a new cozy series "Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear Mysteries". Sasha Silverman is the manager of her family's business, Silver Bear Shop and Factory, in Silver Hollow, Michigan. Her father has retired (although he still owns the company) and her parents have moved to Florida. With her sister Maddie who handles the office and Uncle Ross who runs the factory, she enjoys her job and creates many fun opportunities for the residents and visitors. The family prides themselves on the great quality of Silver Bears, each being handmade with hinged limbs so when the sales manager, Will Taylor tells them that they are moving the factory operations to China and laying off staff, there are many disgruntled people. When Will's body is found dead later that night in the factory, Uncle Ross is the main suspect for his vociferous claims of wanting to kill him. In order to save her uncle and the family business, Sasha begins her own investigation of who killed the sales manager. I found the story dragged in some spots as there was an overwhelming amount of detail, and in some it breezed along. Sasha is successful in her attempts to ferret out the culprit, but she came across as annoying and just plain nosy at times. She is a smart business woman and worked hard to make her family business a success. She has a lot of friends and engenders loyalty from them. I know this is the first book and I hope the characters get fleshed out more in future stories as there were a lot of people introduced in this book. I will admit that it was the cover that attracted me to this story. I love teddy bears and this was a cute story. It was the epitome of a cozy with its small town, quaint characters and settings, amateur sleuth and a mystery to solve. It did not make me think too hard, I figured out the killer early, but still kept reading and enjoyed the story. If you like a cute cozy, you will enjoy this one.
Bearly Departed by Meg Macy was an enjoyable cozy mystery read that kept me turning the pages until the end. Ms. Macy definitely has provided a captivating small town with her attention to detail as she provided well developed characters and enough description of Silver Hollow to make me feel like I was right there with Sasha as she searched for clues. The well paced plot with clues, suspects and enough twists to keep me guessing until the reveal. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Kensington via NetGalley. All of the above opinions are my own.
Fantastic, fun read. Totally enjoyed the teddy bear store/factory angle. Great storyline, loved the pop culture references....loved that Maddie loved Snoopy and that Michael Buble was mentioned. Just a fun, easy read. Hard to put down.
While I felt that there was a bit of a slow start to the book, once I got into it, this was a fun and delightful read; a great start to a new series! I like our main characters. For the most part, Sasha has a sensible head on her shoulders. Right at the end, she seemed to lose that sensibility and put herself in real danger, but that was the first time in the whole book she'd done that so I think I'm really going to end up liking her as a character. Since I live in SE Michigan, I'm very familiar with the area that Ms. Macy used in the book. You could tell that she combined some towns to make the area, but if you weren't from this area, it'd seem like a really nice little town. Being from here didn't detract from the story line. I don't mean that. It was kind of neat to see the things that she included and what she mixed around for originality, that kind of thing. :) The plot line moved along at a steady pace. As I said above, I had a bit of a slow start getting into it, but once I did, I enjoyed it. I wondered about the villain, but I didn't get the whole picture until the end when it was revealed. I'd definitely recommend this new series and I look forward to the next one, even tho' we have to wait until next June for it! *** Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC. I was not compensated for my review. All opinions and conclusions are my own. ***
For this being the first book in a series, I was so beary impressed with author Meg Macy’s writing, I couldn’t bear put the book down! Talk about cozy! How cozier can a mystery get than one set in a teddy bear factory, and stuffed with furry goodness? When I first heard of BEARLY DEPARTED, book one in the Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear Mystery series, I knew it was one I had to read. I enjoyed the way BEARLY DEPARTED started off. In the teddy bear store, and then with a tour of the teddy bear factory. It was fascinating to read how the bears for protagonist Sasha Silverman and her family’s store were made. It’s very clear the author did her research, and it made for educational, informative, fun reading. Ms. Macy put herself in my favor by making her murder victim a most unlikeable person, so I was happy to see him go! Don’t worry, the scene wasn’t too grizzly. ;-) Like him or not, I still wanted to know why he was killed and whodunit, and author Macy complied by sending me on a winding, twisting conveyer belt ride of suspects and clues. I’m already looking forward to the next book in this wonderful new series, BEAR WITNESS TO MURDER!
a wonderful sense of place BEARLY DEPARTED by Meg Macy The First Shamelessly Adorable Teddy Bear Mystery Although she expected her life to be a bit different, at age 31 Sasha Silverman is happy to manage her family's teddy bear shop and factory. Will Taylor, the stores sales representative, is the thorn in everybody's side and when he threatens to cut staff Sasha declares, "Over my dead body". However, after Will claims that the store will send its production over-seas it's not her body that is found. Meg Macy creates a wonderful sense of place in BEARLY DEPARTED. I am able to clearly see myself walking the hot and, too humid for me, streets of Silver Hollow, Michigan. I love going on factory tours and I adore plushies so the Silver Bear Shop and Factory is a place I wish I could really visit, especially with a Christmas themed store right across the street! The characters are varied with more than one villainous citizen residing in and around this quaint community. With themes of family and tradition as well as progress and letting go BEARLY DEPARTED is an enjoyable start to a new series. FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a digital ARC provided through NetGalley, in the hopes I would review it.
Dollycas’s Thoughts Things at The Silver Bear Shop and Factory are not “beary” delightful. After the sales manager Will Taylor announces manufacturing of the teddies will be moving overseas the staff is in uproar. Especially Sasha, Maddie and their Uncle Ross. The girl’s parents started this business and have basically retired and have left the shop and factory in their hands. Their parents/brother never would do something so major without talking to them first. Before they can even contact their father Sasha and Maddie find Will’s dead body next to the stuffing machine. To make matters worse the police have pegged Uncle Ross as the prime suspect. Seems his threats to Will were taken seriously by some people. The factory and store are shut down, the upcoming teddy bear parade may have to be cancelled, her uncle may soon be behind bars and her parents are not returning their calls. Sasha just can’t bear any more drama so she starts investigating on her own not realizing she may be the next “bearly departed”. This was a fabulous read. The Silver Bear Shop and Factory sounds like such a fun place. I know there is a national chain that allows you to stuff you own teddies and other creatures but The Silver Bear Shops sells a very unique bear. Also Maddie and Sasha make a great team, creative to think of all sorts of events to coordinate with the seasons and holidays drawing visitors to Silver Hollow. Macy has created a charming cast of characters. Sasha is divorced but her ex has moved back to Silver Hollow bringing a bit of added drama. She is a very determined woman and very loyal to her family and their business. Maddie takes care of the office work, paying bills, working with vendors, and the financial reports. She also has a very creative side. Uncle Ross runs the factory and can be a little prickly but like his brother, the girl’s father, he is a real teddy bear behind all the bluster. Their mother is a little tougher and ready for life to slow down. We also meet their employees and other shopkeepers like Will’s wife. Being the first book in the series the author has left plenty of room for the characters grown in future installments. The author has written a tale with a number of twists. The clue that seemed to be missed by the police was one I grabbed onto and was pleasantly surprised that I was right about its relevance. I was still surprised by the way the story played out. Meg Macy has penned a wonderful debut for this series. It checks all my boxes for an absolutely perfect escape. I can “bearly” wait for my next visit to Silver Hollow. Bear Witness to Murder will be released in 2018.
Last Friday afternoon I had a little free time and I thought I’d sit down quick and read a little on this book before it was time to make dinner. A couple hours later … … I had ordered pizza to feed the kids for dinner and was still reading. I don’t know if that is a mom fail or a reading win, but it is real life, folks. I blew off making dinner to read this book. I’m a sucker for a good cozy. This book has complex family dynamics, and a murder that is thought out and original. Their wasn't a romance for the main character, which I found interesting and refreshing. It was a great, quick read. I recommend it!
I found Bearly Departed to be nicely written and I liked the premise of a teddy bear shop and factory. It was interesting to read about the different steps to building a bear and it was cute that the shop had a teddy bear hospital. Bearly Departed starts out at a good pace and then slows down considerably (especially since we get detailed descriptions of each person Sasha encounters along with their businesses). I thought there were several cozy mystery clichés in this novel. The cop is rude and impatient, the person who would be killed was foreseeable, and the killer’s identity was unsurprising. Sasha babbles, stumbles, is forgetful, misplaces things, a gossip, impulsive and seems to take her dog with her everywhere. Since Sasha is the manager of a store, I was hoping for a competent, smart, and confident woman as the main character (it would have been a nice change). I give Bearly Departed 3 out of 5 stars. The mystery was slightly complicated, but the identity of the culprit was not. There is a side plot in the book that acts as a red herring. Personally, I felt that the author tried to stuff too much into this first book. There was just one incident after another. I thought that there were too many characters. Readers are introduced to the Silverman family, the workers in the factory, owners of the shops on their street, townspeople, etc. I quickly tired of reading about Rosie’s (Sasha’s dog) bathroom habits. The author added in Sasha’s ex-husband who is (of course) a cheating louse who ends up returning to town. Was this really needed? Information about the case is repeated several times throughout the novel (like filler). I was also curious why when Sasha has a teddy bear picnic (a company event) that they do not use bears from their own shop. They had bears from other designers (Winnie-the-Pooh and Boyd’s Bears for example) and generic bears present. Since people are paying to attend the event, it would be better advertising to have their own bears dressed up for the picnic (and then have them for sale). Bearly Departed was just okay for me. The premise is unique, but otherwise I was underwhelmed. If you prefer to read lighter cozy mysteries (that have more of the cozy element), than check out at Bearly Departed.
Missing This Debut Would be Unbearable Few things bring up the warm fuzzes for most people like teddy bears. So this isn’t a subject you would automatically think of for murder, but maybe it should be. I’m already beginning to think of all the great murder weapons in a stuffed bear factory, and this delightful new series has bearly started with Bearly Departed. The series is set in the small town of Silver Hollow, Michigan, and centers on the small, family owned Silver Bear Shop and Factory. Sasha Silverman’s parents started the factory based on her grandfather’s design, and she is proud to be carrying on the legacy as the company’s manager. However, there is Will Taylor, the company’s sale representative. Will has decided that the company would save money by moving production overseas, a drumbeat he’s been making since he started. When he returned unexpectedly from a sales convention and calls a meeting, Sasha fears he’s going to bring up the subject again. Sure enough he does, but he shocks every when he claims that he’s gotten Sasha’s almost retired father to okay the production move. Naturally, the meeting ends with lots of yelling and threats, but Sasha does not expect to find Will dead inside the factory late that night. With the police looking at Sasha’s uncle as a suspect, she decides to dig in and try to find the real killer. But can she do that? The book takes a little time to get going as we are introduced to the business, characters, and community. However, it doesn’t take us too long to meet Will, and that’s when things get very interesting. Over the course of the investigation, Sasha uncovers secrets about people she thought she knew and even reaches some revelations about her own family, which I really liked. A sub-plot involving her parents also helped keep me engaged. Everything comes together for a logical and suspenseful climax. As I mentioned, all the characters have layers to them, and that makes them very interesting. What I especially enjoyed was seeing how Sasha reacted to what she was learning about these people she thought she knew. That allowed us to really get to know her. This book sets up some interesting future storylines for her and other series regulars as well as some interesting family dynamics, so I’m anxious to find out what happens to all of them next. Despite this book being labeled “Shamelessly Adorable” there is a very serious side to the story told here. Oh, don’t worry, it’s still a cozy, but it is a cozy with a bit more gravity to it than some others, and I enjoyed that. If you are like me, you aren’t necessarily looking for a new series to start, but I recommend you make an exception for Bearly Departed. I’m very interested in learning where the characters go from here, and I am beary confident you will be, too. NOTE: I received an ARC of this book. SECOND NOTE: Yes, it is way too easy to make bear puns, and I’m having too much fun making them.
Bearly Departed is the first book in the A Teddy Bear Mystery series. I’m going to be looking forward to more visits to The Silver Bear Shop and Factory and getting to know Sasha and Maddie and the residents of Silver Hallow. Sasha and Maddie, along with Uncle Ross are running the family business and while sales could be better they are holding their own but could be better along with profits. Their sales manager, Will Taylor, acts like he is the CEO and is constantly complaining about the cost of production, the number of bears donated to needy causes. Upon arriving from a sales trip to the East Coast, he calls for a company meeting. At the meeting, he outlines a plan to send the production overseas and claims to have the backing of Sasha and Maddie’s father. That evening when Sasha and Maddie return home, they are nearly hit by a car speeding away from the parking lot behind the factory. They go to investigate why Taylor is still there, but instead, they find his dead body lying on the production floor. Knowing that a death at their factory could have a negative effect on business, they begin their own investigation. They end up with quite a few suspects, including his wife who he doesn’t pay a lot of attention too, he was suspected of having an affair or two and there is also that it might be a drug deal that went bad. This book is well written with a very interesting mystery, as well as an exciting cast of believable characters. Also included is a link for a Coats & Clark crochet pattern for Rita The Beach Bear. A real cutie. I will be watching for the next book in this entertaining new series.
First off, I love teddy bears. When I'm given a cozy centered around a small town, family owned teddy bear factory, I'm a very happy reader. Summer in Michigan, a teddy bear picnic, and then a body of an employee turns up dead on the factory floor. In order to save the business, Sasha and her sister juggle teddy bears, a picnic, dead bodies and family issues while racing against the clock to find the killer. If the police don't remove the crime scene tap ASAP, the factory will be done for. I'll be looking forward to another entry in this series. One can never get enough teddy bears.
Bearly Departed by Meg Macy is a good start to a new series. Having a book set in this environment is unique and sets it apart for cozy mysteries. Sasha Silverman is the protagonist of the series and she is a likeable character. She works as the shops manager and leader of the Teddy Bear Picnics. Will Taylor is the shop's sales manager and he has plans to take the small factory & store to new heights. While it sounds like a good idea, his plans are nefarious and will cause upset to the residents who rely on the factory for their income. When somebody takes out Will, it's up to Sasha to dig deep and find the truth, especially since it's her Uncle Ross who is the prime suspect. This adorable book makes its debut on May 30, 2017. I voluntarily read an ARC of this book provided by Kensington Books & NetGalley