After a rough divorce, Abby McCree only wants to stitch up her life and move on. But other loose ends appear after her elderly Aunt Sybil passes away, leaving Abby to tend to a rundown estate, complete with a slobbery Mastiff of questionable pedigree and a sexy tenant who growls more than the dog. As Abby gets drawn into a tight-knit quilting guild, she makes a twisted discovery—Aunt Sybil’s only known rival is buried in her backyard!
Despite what local detectives say, Abby refuses to accept that her beloved aunt had anything to do with the murder. While navigating a busy social calendar and rediscovering the art of quilting, she launches an investigation of her own to clear Aunt Sybil’s name and catch the true culprit. The incriminating clues roll in, yet Abby can’t help but wonder—can she survive her new responsibilities in Snowberry Creek and still manage to patch together a killer’s deadly pattern without becoming the next victim?
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Abby McCree sighed. Loudly.
The only one who appeared to pay any attention to her was Zeke. The huge mastiff mix was dozing in his favorite puddle of sunlight on the hardwood floor. He raised his head long enough to see if she had a treat for him. When she didn't, he gave her a reproachful look before dropping his head down on his paws to drift back to sleep.
Doggy disappointment was the least of Abby's problems right now. She hadn't been a landlady for very long and didn't know what all the rules were. However, she was pretty sure that saving her somewhat irascible tenant from a gaggle of grannies wasn't on the official list. Still, she felt some obligation to shoo the ladies away from her front window, especially because whatever one of them had just whispered had the other two giggling like schoolgirls. Had none of them ever seen a shirtless man mowing a lawn before? Evidently not one built like Tripp Blackston, but even she had to admit the man was totally ripped.
She set down the tray she'd carried in from the kitchen. It was clearly too much to hope that a plate full of freshly baked cream cheese brownies and sugar cookies would be enough to lure her guests back to their seats. "Ladies, we'll never get the plans for your garage sale finalized today if we don't get back to work."
Two gray heads and one impossibly red one briefly turned in her direction. Glenda, who clung to the mistaken belief that everyone really believed her hair was still the same vivid shade of red now as it had been when she was a young girl, acted as spokesperson for the trio. "We were just thinking that Mr. Blackston looked awfully hot out there."
Another pause for more giggling before she continued. "We think you should take a plate of goodies and a glass of that fresh lemonade out to him. Surely that young man deserves to take a break after working for hours in the hot sun."
They stared at Abby with a hint of accusation in their expressions, as if it was somehow her fault that the early spring day had turned unexpectedly warm. When Abby didn't immediately leap into action, Jean spun her walker around and marched toward the table. "Never mind, dear. I'll take it out to him."
Jean's best friend, Louise, joined her to pile a paper plate high with brownies, while Glenda filled a glass with lemonade. "I'll carry his drink for you, Jean. Abby, be a dear and get the door for us."
Defeat tasted bitter, but Abby knew when she'd been outmaneuvered and outmatched. It was obvious all three women had decades of experience in wielding guilt to get their way. She snatched the plate and glass out of their hands. "Fine. I'll take these out to Mr. Blackston. You three sit down and enjoy your drinks."
On her way to the door, she paused to look back at her elderly friends. "But when I come back, we need to get down to business. While I'm outside, why don't you think about where you want to hold the garage sale?"
Louise winced and then immediately offered up an apologetic smile. "But your aunt always insisted we have it here, Abby. Sybil has ... had ... the biggest yard and parking is plentiful on this street."
Darn, she should've known they'd play the Aunt Sybil card, a reminder that this house and everything in it hadn't been Abby's for very long. Before that, it had belonged to her aunt for over sixty years, starting from the day she moved in as a young bride and lasting right up until she died just over a month ago. A fresh stab of grief over the death of her favorite relative hit Abby hard. The pain of her loss had yet to fade in the least.
"I wasn't thinking. Of course, you can have it here again this year."
When they finally turned their attention to the brownies she'd baked earlier that morning, Abby headed outside to flag down her tenant on his next trip back in her direction. She knew the instant Tripp spotted her, because he stopped to frown at her from over by the fence. Finally, he guided the mower over to where she stood and shut it off. At least he wasn't going to make her shout over the sound of the engine.
"Did you need something?"
She held out the plate and the lemonade. "The ladies inside noticed how hot you looked out here."
Judging from the way he grimaced, she should've phrased that differently. Then again, the statement was true no matter which way he chose to interpret it. Almost any woman with a pulse would have noticed. Luckily, she wasn't that type at all.
Time to get down to business. "I ... well, actually, they, thought you might appreciate a cold drink and a snack."
He glanced past her toward the large picture window on the front of the big Victorian behind her. From the way he tightened his grip on the lawnmower handle, she didn't have to look to know that the ladies were back at the window. At least he managed a small smile as he nodded in their direction and finally accepted the glass. He chugged down the lemonade in a matter of seconds and then shoved the glass back in her hand.
"Would you like some more?"
"I'm good. You can leave the brownies on the steps. I'll pick them up when I'm done mowing." His dark eyes bored into hers. "And for the record, I don't need an audience when I'm working."
He walked away before she could do more than sputter. The man was insufferable even if he was right. The agreement he'd had with Aunt Sybil was reduced rent in return for doing odd jobs around the place. He was entitled to his privacy.
That didn't keep her from muttering, as the lawnmower roared back to life, "Maybe people wouldn't stare so much if you kept your shirt on."
Abby set the plate down by his discarded T-shirt. As she rejoined her guests inside, Louise said, "The lemonade must have cooled him right down. He's putting his shirt back on, although he certainly doesn't look very happy right now."
Abby's cheeks burned. Had he heard her? If so, he must have the hearing of a bat to pick up her comment over the roar of that engine. Well, she hadn't said anything but the truth. Rather than discuss the matter any further, she sat down and reached for a brownie and her own glass of lemonade. After a brief internal debate, she added a second brownie to her plate. It had been that kind of a day.
"We were talking while you were outside." Louise patted Abby on the hand. "It's not fair of us to assume that you would host the garage sale just because Sybil always did. We were thinking we could ask Dolly Cayhill if we could use her place."
Jean didn't look convinced that was a good idea. "Is Dolly even back from Arizona? I sure haven't seen her around. Normally she lets me know when she gets back in town."
"Do I know Dolly?" Abby tried to put a face with the name. "I'm sure I've heard the name, but I don't know that I've ever met her."
Glenda reached for another cookie. "Maybe not. She and Sybil weren't close."
When Jean snorted as if smothering a laugh, Glenda shot her a dark look before continuing. "Dolly is a snowbird and always leaves town right after Christmas. She stays gone until the weather warms up here. Having said that, I haven't heard that she's back yet."
There was no use in dragging things out. Abby eyed a third brownie but decided against it. "Seriously, I don't mind having the sale here this year. Just let me know what I need to do to get ready and when you want to have it."
* * *
An hour later, Abby helped the ladies back down the front steps and got Jean settled into the backseat of Glenda's sedan. After tucking Jean's walker into the trunk and shutting the lid, she stepped back out of the way and waved as the car pulled away. As much as she enjoyed spending time with Aunt Sybil's friends, sharing both memories and laughs, she was ready for some alone time. It seemed as if her life had been in a constant uproar for the past six months or more, and moments of peace and quiet had been rare.
The only problem was that there was so much she needed to be doing. Before heading back inside, she paused to study her new home. She'd yet to decide if she was going to live in it for the foreseeable future, or if she should get the place ready to sell. Either way, the house needed some serious upgrading. At least Aunt Sybil had had it painted top to bottom, inside and out, just last year, so that much was done.
The large yard was a whole different matter. Her aunt had always been an avid gardener, priding herself on having garden-tour quality landscaping. But over the past few years, the flower beds had definitely gotten out of hand. A lot of the trees and shrubs needed to be pruned or even taken out altogether. Blackberry brambles had gradually taken over one entire corner of the backyard and were slowly creeping closer to the small mother-in-law cottage where Tripp Blackston had recently taken up residence.
Speaking of the man himself, he'd finished mowing and was now edging the flower beds along the side of the house. He might not be the friendliest person she'd ever met, but he was certainly a hard worker. She quickly moved out of sight. This was her house and her yard, and she had every right to stand anywhere she pleased, but the last thing she wanted was to get caught watching him again.
She glanced down at her silent companion. "Zeke, I'm going upstairs to work again. You can stay out here with Tripp if you want."
When the dog stared up at her with his soulful eyes, she gave him a good scratch and a couple of treats that she'd remembered to stick in her pocket. "He knows to let you back inside if you get tired of following him around."
Zeke gulped down his goodies and then thanked her with a slobbery lick. Out of consideration for his feelings, she waited until he ambled off in Tripp's direction before wiping her hand on her jeans. The big guy meant well, but yuck.
The day was getting away from her, and it was past time to get to work. Heading back into the house, she still had to wonder what Aunt Sybil had been thinking when she'd picked Tripp to be her new tenant. Granted, she'd always rented the place to a student from the local university, but he wasn't a typical college freshman. Although never exactly chatty, he had mentioned that he'd recently retired from the army after twenty years. Best guess, that made him a few years older than she was, somewhere in his late thirties or maybe even his early forties.
Glenda had told her that he'd served at some point with Gage Logan, the local chief of police. In fact, it had been Chief Logan who had introduced Tripp to Aunt Sybil a few months back, when Tripp had been in town to register for classes. That was the sum total Abby knew about the man. She guessed she couldn't complain as long as he paid his rent on time and kept up with the list of chores she updated as needed.
For now, she left the yardwork to him while she concentrated on the inside of the house, a major job in itself. Aunt Sybil hadn't exactly been a hoarder, but she had managed to accumulate quite a bit of clutter over the years, not to mention the added contributions from the two generations of her husband's family who'd lived in the house before her.
After grabbing a bottle of water, Abby trudged up to the third floor to pick up where she'd left off the day before. Aunt Sybil had used one of the three small bedrooms on that level as overflow for the stuff she couldn't fit in the attic. At some point, she'd had the wall taken out between the other two rooms, opening up the space for her quilting. One entire wall was covered with built-in shelves, which held the rainbow of quilting fabrics she'd collected over the years. Another held batting, a rack of threads, and bolts of the neutral colors that she used as backing for her quilts.
A complicated sewing machine held pride of place in front of the large window that overlooked the front yard. A stack of patchwork squares sat on the table next to the machine, some already sewn into long strips while others still waited to be joined together. The pattern was a relatively simple one, done in vibrant shades of red and blue, the style of quilt that her aunt had often made to be auctioned off by one of the charities she supported. Maybe someday Abby would try to finish the quilt herself, but not yet.
There was a quilt top stretched on the quilting frame in the corner, another project that needed to be finished. This one was a double-wedding ring pattern done in pastels. Who had it been for? Maybe Glenda or one of the other ladies would know. Abby ran her fingers across the fabric, loving the textures and soft colors. It was tempting to do a few stitches, but she couldn't bring herself to pick up the needle and thread that were still attached to the fabric right where her aunt had stopped working.
But then she hadn't been able to bring herself to touch anything in this one room that was so quintessentially her aunt's. Closing her eyes, she breathed in the fading scent of Sybil's perfume and whispered, "I miss you so much, Aunt Sybil."
Having paid homage to the woman who'd had a profound effect on her life, Abby crossed the hall to the other bedroom and prepared to wade through the day's allotment of boxes. She'd originally shoved everything to one side of the room to give herself space to sort everything into one of three categories: stuff to keep, stuff to donate, and trash. Choosing the correct designation for some items turned out to be far more difficult than she'd expected, which had resulted in her adding a fourth category — undecided.
On some days, it was that last one that garnered the most additions. It didn't feel right to throw away family pictures, but she didn't know what to do with the ones in which she didn't recognize the people at all. For now, she just left them piled in boxes. It was tempting to sit and read a few more of the letters she'd unearthed yesterday, but she limited herself to skimming just a handful, which had dates spanning more than the past century. The entire collection went into the pile of things she planned to save.
Her primary goal was to pare down the sheer amount of stuff in the house, but she also needed to make room for her own things. For the most part, her belongings still sat in boxes piled in a small room in the back of the house. There wasn't much she'd salvaged from her marriage, but using all of Aunt Sybil's things made it feel as if she were a guest in this house, not its new owner.
Sorting also gave her something to do with her time, while she figured out what came next in her life. At this point, she'd expected to still be half of the couple, Chad and Abby Ohler, who maybe had two kids and a dog. Instead, she was back to being Abby McCree, alone and starting over on her own.
Enough of that. She wasn't going to sit there and wallow in what-ifs and where-did-I-go-wrongs. She'd done enough of that, starting immediately after she'd confronted Chad with her growing suspicion that he was having an affair. Unfortunately, her instincts had turned out to be right on target. Water under the bridge and all that. His loss.
The burn of tears trickled down her cheeks, no doubt the result of all the dust she was stirring up. Ignoring them, she got busy. Never sure what she'd find, sometimes it felt like she was on a treasure hunt. From what she could see, today's boxes contained old Christmas decorations, some hand-embroidered table linens, and a set of canisters decorated with pictures of mushrooms done in shades of yellow, orange, and green.
She held up the smallest one and grinned. "You're all going in the donate pile for the quilting guild's garage sale. I'm betting someone will want to revisit the seventies."
The Christmas ornaments went in the same pile, but she set the linens aside to take downstairs to be laundered. Unlike the family photos, someone had taken the time to pin a note to each piece, indicating who'd done the embroidery and the approximate date it had been done. Even if Abby never had kids of her own, she did have some distant cousins who might like to have a piece of the family history to keep.
There was one thing she'd yet to find. Years ago, she'd come to spend most of a summer vacation with Sybil. The two of them had made a quilt top from clothing belonging to at least three generations of their family. Unfortunately, they'd run out of time before they could finish it. Sybil had promised to pick up where they'd left off the next time Abby came for a long visit. But upon returning home, Abby had learned that her parents had filed for divorce. After that, thanks to the custody agreement, Abby had spent all of her summers with her father's new family in Oregon.
Any further visits with her aunt had been rare and too short to work on a major project like the quilt. Eventually, Sybil had promised to finish the quilt by herself, but it would still be Abby's someday. There were other quilts in the house that were nice, but she wanted this particular one because of the good memories that it represented.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Death by Committee"
Copyright © 2019 Patricia Pritchard.
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
After a rough divorce, Abby McCree only wants to stitch up her life and move on. But other loose ends appear after her elderly Aunt Sybil passes away, leaving Abby to tend to a rundown estate, complete with a slobbery Mastiff of questionable pedigree and a sexy tenant who growls more than the dog. As Abby gets drawn into a tight-knit quilting guild, she makes a twisted discovery—Aunt Sybil’s only known rival is buried in her backyard! Despite what local detectives say, Abby refuses to accept that her beloved aunt had anything to do with the murder. While navigating a busy social calendar and rediscovering the art of quilting, she launches an investigation of her own to clear Aunt Sybil’s name and catch the true culprit. The incriminating clues roll in, yet Abby can’t help but wonder—can she survive her new responsibilities in Snowberry Creek and still manage to patch together a killer’s deadly pattern without becoming the next victim? -- Series: An Abby McCree Mystery - Book 1 Author: Alexis Morgan Genre: Cozy Mystery Publisher: Kensington Books A new series from award-winning author, Alexis Morgan starts with a bang! Death by Committee from Kensington Books is the first book in a new series, it leaves readers thrilled and entertained. This book is a relaxing, fun romp through the small town of Snowberry Creek, Washington a fictional town that is also featured in one of Ms. Morgan’s other series. As the first in a series, the characters are detailed enough to keep the readers interest without making the characters boring. Zeke, her dog, and Tripp, her renter make the series stimulating without taking away from Abby or the plot. Discovering a body in your backyard is never good but having your dead aunt under suspicion of being a killer is even worse. Unfortunately, the victim wasn’t well liked and wasn’t missed for a long time, and the trail has grown cold. . Abby needs to prove her late Aunt Sybil did not kill her arch rival. The road to finding the killer is paved with twists, turns and filled with giant pot holds as Abby narrows down the suspect list. With the help of the quilting guild, a group of senior citizens dedicated to helping the town by quilting, and the town busybodies she sews together the clues and comes up with a killer. Death by Committee is a delightful book and a great beginning for a new series. The writing is professional, smooth and stays on point. Ms. Morgan has proven again that she is a writer who knows her craft and her audience. I highly recommend this book and look forward to the next addition to the series.
This is a great start to a new cozy mystery series. Abby McCree is settling into her new life in the small town of Snowberry Creek. She has inherited a rundown estate from her late Aunt Sybil, who she spend many happy summers with when she was quite young. Abby doesn't have much time to get used to her new home, or figure out what she needs to do first, because her aunt's friends have offered up Abby's services to all the committees Aunt Sybil was involved in. She finds herself taking over the local quilting guild, serving on the city’s Senior Affairs group, and planning fundraising garage sales. When Tripp, her tenant and yard man, discovers a body buried in her backyard, it turns out to be Aunt Sybil's rival in town who everyone assumed was down south for the winter. Aunt Sybil is the main suspect, and even though she is deceased, Abby wants to make sure her aunt's name and reputation are not tarnished. Will her investigation and questions put her in danger? Author Alexis Morgan has written a fun story with a great plot. Abby's investigation moves slowly and builds the tension until the explosive ending. The characters in the book are relatively well developed for the first book in the series. Abby is strong, intelligent and determined in her quest. She doesn't rush headlong into things, but proceeds slowly, uncovering information along the way. This does not mean the story is boring, though. The quilters are fun. There are some quirky characters, but they are not dowdy, these women are quick and smart as well. And then there is Tripp. He is a veteran who lives in the small cottage on the property. He had agreed to help Sybil out with yard work and maintenance in return for lower rent. The quilters love to have an excuse to watch him work on a hot day. He helps keep Abby safe and perhaps will become a love interest for her as the series goes on. There are a few suspects to the murder as well as some not very nice characters in the story which all add to the well-plotted and well-paced story. There are a couple of red herrings and some twists that kept me guessing. I thought I had it all figured out, but there were a few things, such as motive, that were revealed at the end. Overall, a very satisfying story and a good start to a new series. I am looking forward to seeing what is next for Abby, Tripp and the Quilters. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon my request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
Fun entertaining read
This was a great start to a fun new cozy series! I read a lot of cozy mysteries and this was truly one of the best I have found. It starts off well and had me involved in the story early on. The goats being hired to clear a bramble patch was new to me and a fun element especially how it plays in to a body being discovered. That was an unusual and memorable way for a body to be found. There was quite a bit of humor and sarcasm in the book which I liked a lot(I speak fluent sarcasm!). Tripp was probably my favorite character in the book. I like Abby as well but she did kind of annoy me a couple of times. The culprit was fairly obvious(to me anyways) but the story still kept me engaged and wanting to find out for sure if I was right. All in all, a solid debut for this new series, which I recently learned has a predecessor fiction series I will be investigating soon! Looking forward to book two releasing later this year!! I received this book from NetGalley and was not required to post a positive review. All thoughts above are my honest opinion.
This turned out to be a very good first book in a new series. It starts with things already underway, avoiding a lot of the moving back home angst. Abby is already living in her late Aunt Sybil's home, going through everything, taking care of what is now her new dog Zeke and getting to know Sybil's group of friends--from quilters to neighborhood do gooders. It was convenient to already have a handyman onsite--Aunt Sybil had an agreement with Tripp to do work around the place in exchange for a place to live and Abby soon takes on committee roles temporarily as well for the town of Snowberry Creek. When the only person in town who could possibly be called Sybil's nemesis is found buried in the backyard in a quilt, both Abby and the ladies of the quilting guild want to find out what really happened. There were some parts of the storyline that seemed to run almost parallel to each other, but I really liked how all the pieces came together in the end. It was a very solid read and kept my interest the whole time.
Death by Committee is a cozy mystery that emphasizes romance and quilting more than sleuthing. Abby’s recently deceased elderly Aunt Sybil left her a house. Abby hires several goats to eat some overgrown foliage in the backyard. One goat uncovers Dolly, Sybil’s rival, who is buried in the backyard in Sybil’s quilt. When the town, including the police chief, rush to assume Sybil is a murderer, Abby vows to clear her Aunt’s name. Luckily, she will have the help of her boarder, the hunky Tripp. I enjoyed the relationship between Abby and Tripp. They both seemed genuine. The mystery within Death by Committee was a bit too easy to solve making this book a better choice for romance fans. 3 stars. Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
A new series! Can you feel my excitement? And, as far as first books in a series go, author Alexis Morgan did a great job with DEATH BY COMMITTEE. An enjoyable read and a well thought out plot, DEATH BY COMMITTEE was a hard one to put down. Each time I did, I’d pick it up for “just one more chapter”. You can guess how that turned out. This story was a real puzzle of a mystery for me. But, if you pay close enough attention to clues and people’s actions, you may very well guess the killer. I was so absorbed in the characters (see below) that the baddy got past me, so it was a surprise when I read the reveal. There are such great characters in this book. I immediately liked protagonist, Abby McCree. She was dealt losses of one sort or the other, and at first seemed a bit unsure of her life. It was wonderful to see her character grow stronger and surer during the story. The ladies of her quilting guild are a handful, but they’re so fun to read! Abby’s tenant, Tripp, seems to be a grump at first, but that changes quickly. And Zeke, Abby’s inherited Mastiff has completely won my heart. If you are the type who worries about starting a new series, you don’t have to be with DEATH BY COMMITTEE. I have no doubt you’ll love it from cover to cover!
Looking for an exciting cozy mystery? Death by Committee has more action than is normally found in a cozy mystery. It is for sure a page turner. Death by Committee by Alexis Morgan features likable characters with some depth to them that makes you want to get to know them even better. Its setup has potential for lots of variety in future stories. Main character Abby McCree, recently divorced, inherits her aunt’s house in a small town. She finds herself landlady to Tripp, a handsome veteran who lives in a cottage on her property. Abby has plenty to do sorting through her aunt’s possessions, but Aunt Sibyl’s elderly friends expect her to step into her aunt’s shoes as head of the quilting guild and as a civic leader. A body is found buried on Abby’s property wrapped in a quilt. This gruesome discovery leads to her informal and unsanctioned investigation to clear her aunt’s name, but there is more intrigue to follow. A side mystery involves the disappearance of thirteen quilts. The quilts are valuable, but are they worth the penalties for theft? My favorite character is the huge, slobbery Zeke: a mastiff cross who is Abby’s best buddy and defender. He is a constant throughout the story providing interest and humor. Zeke adores both Tripp and Abby (and treats) as much as the pair loves him. The book is filled with humorous repartee as Tripp and Abby struggle to understand each other, and fireworks of various kinds fly. I did figure out before the reveal who the murderer is, but not the motive. I think this was intentional, making the final scenes even more dramatic. Abby put herself in danger sometimes through her own actions, but it does make for an exciting story. I am looking forward to the next book in the series. This one did not change my world, but it is a lot of fun, and it left me with a satisfied smile and wanting more. I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Kensington Books for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Abby McCree has inherited her favorite aunt’s (Sybil) property in a small town in Washington. She also seems to have inherited several of Sybil’s friends, community projects, and tenant of the guesthouse (Tripp). While clearing the backyard Abby and Tripp find a dead body. This body brings up all kind of questions about Sybil from the police and several of the people around town. Abby is determined to clear her aunt’s name. This is a fun start to a new series. Since Abby seems to have inherited a group of senior ladies from her aunt’s quilting group and a good looking mysterious man as a tenant, this makes for an interesting cast of characters. In addition to the unique group of friends Abby as her adorable dog Zeke to protect her. The setting of the small town adds realism to how everyone seems to know everything about everyone. This mystery is well paced with several twists and turns. There also seems to be a possibility of romance for future books because there is definitely some chemistry between Abby and Tripp. I look forward to reading more books in the future. I voluntarily agreed to read a copy of this book supplied by NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own and in no way have been influenced.
Abby McCree inherits her favorite Aunt Sybil's house and ex military tenant. She quickly steps in to cover many of her deceased aunts committee commitments including the quilt guild. The members of the guild help Abby adjust to the small town life in many ways while often volunteering her for more work than she's like to do. The older guild members enjoy visiting Abby and watching her tenant, Tripp working shirtless in the yard. Unfortunately, Abby and Tripp discover the body of Aunt Sybil's rival in the back yard. This throws Abby into clearing her late aunt's name. As if Abby doesn't have enough going on, the guild members ask her to look into some missing quilts. Suddenly Abby's quiet new life is full of danger. Luckily she has her aunt's trusty dog Zeke to warn her when danger is sneaking up on her. I absolutely loved this book. I had a hard time putting it down and when I did step away from it I would pick it up and read a few pages every chance I got. The characters and town feel so real that the reader feels like they know them all personally. I can't wait for the next book in this series.
Dollycas’s Thoughts I like Abby McCree, but she needs to learn to say no! Those elderly ladies really ran roughshod over her. By the end of the story, she was getting her bearings and getting stronger, which I was very happy to see. Those ladies reminded me so much of some of the older ladies I have known in my life. A little pushy, but with huge hearts and kind souls. Tripp Blackstone, on the other hand, was a tough nut to crack, ex-military tough, and a little closed off. He starts to soften as he finds himself in the role of protector to Abby as digs into Dolly’s death and right into the line of fire. Tripp and Abby grow a lot for this being the first book in the series. I liked the way the author has started them on their journey. My favorite character of all was Zeke. A big dog who is a gentle giant, at least most of the time. The only time he leaves Abby’s side is when he is with Tripp. He is truly my kind of canine, even with all the drool The plot was complex with two real mysteries. The first, the murder, had its share of suspects, but one after another are eliminated and Abby becomes a target. The second deals with 13 missing quilts the quilt had hoped to use for a calendar fundraiser. Given to a new member to photograph who then abruptly leaves town without returning the quilts or the pictures to the guild. As the new president of the guild, Abby tries her best to locate them. I used to love to quilt so this subplot really interested me. The two mysteries mesh together so well. The story had some really exciting events and I was on the edge of my seat for the nail-biting ending. Ms. Morgan has taken the time to fully describe each person and place so clearly that I could picture every element of the story. The people came alive. Abby’s home, the yard, the garage, and all the places around town were easily pictured in my mind. I was in each moment right along with Abby. What I love most about this story was that it is written for the long haul of a series. The main characters evolved a great deal in this book but there is still so much to know about them. I am definitely invested in their lives and want to know more about them. The secondary characters are fun and entertaining too and have plenty of room to grow. Ms. Morgan has sewn together a wonderful treat for her readers. Death by Committee was a perfect escape for me and I know fans of this genre will enjoy it too!
hits all the right marks DEATH BY COMMITTEE by Alexis Morgan The First Abby McCree Mystery Abby McCree just inherited her favorite aunt's estate, but in addition to a lovely Victorian, she also received a somewhat moody, if hunky, tenant, a loving Mastiff mixed breed dog full of drool, and a position on numerous committees. If being volunteered to not only serve, but chair, all these groups doesn't kill her, what she found tidying up the property might. Dolly, her aunt's archrival wasn't enjoying Florida as a snowbird, she was buried under her aunt's blackberries! Abby's vowed to protect her aunt's good name, but doing so will land her right in the killer's sights! I absolutely loved my first visit to Abby's world. Abby is a delightful protagonist. She's smart, at times snarky, sometimes vulnerable, but always loyal and thoughtful. Tripp is the ultimate brooding romantic interest while Zeke provides plenty of love himself...along with drool. Aside from the great characters, the humor is another draw to this mystery. There are lots of snickers and outright laughs. I particularly love how the elderly ladies keep ogling Tripp. The mystery itself is not only intriguing, but well plotted, with lots of suspects, and well laid red herrings. DEATH BY COMMITTEE is a super start to a fun to series. This first Abby McCree Mystery hits all the right marks with characters with whom you want to spend time, a hint of romance, a lovable dog, plenty of laughs, and a finely crafted mystery. FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a copy of this book in the hopes I would review it.
Started reading this one and was totally hooked. Couldn't put it down. Can't wait for the next one I
Death by Committee is a cute cozy mystery. I thought it was a quick and easy to read book. Abby McCree is newly divorced from a cheating husband and out of job since he bought out her share of the company. Moving to Snowberry Cree gives Abby a new start. She has inherited a large Victorian home along with the contents plus the oversized Zeke and a handsome tenant in the mother-in-law cottage. Abby is an appealing character who is helpful and friendly with the elderly ladies of the quilting guild. Louise Allen, Jean Benson and Glenda Unger are the three quilting guild members who rope Abby into various projects and enjoy watching Tripp work in the yard (frequently without his shirt on). Tripp Blackston is ex-military and a college freshman who is renting the mother-in-law cottage. There are frequent mentions of Tripp’s physique as the ladies ogle him. The author is setting him up to be Abby’s love interest, but I do not admire his bossy attitude and hair trigger temper. The mystery is straightforward with a small suspect list, a red herring and pointed clues. Abby talks with several people to gather information, but that is the extent of her investigating. Solving this whodunit is a piece of cake. I did like how the mystery was wrapped up at the end. I like Gage Logan, the chief of police. He is friendly, helpful and has a sense of humor. Death by Committee is a good start to An Abby McCree Mystery series. I hope the author takes the time to develop her characters in the next book and provide more details on the town. Death by Committee is a light hearted cozy mystery with a charming Victorian home, a cute mastiff mix, beautifully crafted quilts, three busy older ladies and killer on the loose.
Abbey McCree finds herself in Snowberry Creek after inheriting herAunt's home after her divorce. With happy memories from her youth and a fresh start find her stepping into a few roles her aunt had filled in the town, president of the ladies quilting guild and head of the senior citizens committee. But when the body of her aunt's long time frienemy is found in the backyard wrapped in one her aunt's handmade quilts, Abbey finds that some people think her aunt killed the woman. Since dead people tell no lies, or fact for that matter, Abbey decides that she not only needs to clear her aunt's good name, but find justice for the murdered woman. With quite a few suspects but no real motives, everything seems to be linked to the quilts that the quilting guild ladies made. Soon Abbey receives a chilling warning from the murderer and agrees it is time for her to keep her hose out of the investigation, but it may be too late to back off and be safe. Luckily she's got a loyal and faithful dog and the support of her handsome tenant, Tripp, as well as that of the local sheriff, Gage. As with any new series, it took me a few chapters to get fully immersed into the new characters but I found myself unable to put it down once I get into the story. So many potentials suspects, but it took awhile for things to full click into place. The characters and writing are solid and I enjoyed the first book in the new series.
Death by Committee by Alexis Morgan is the first book in a new cozy series. Ms. Morgan is "new to me" and I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I liked Abby McCree almost immediately as she was introduced in the book. She has gone through a crippling divorce and then her favorite aunt past away. However, she inherited her aunt's house and her dog, Zeke, in Snowberry Creek, Washington and once the divorce was finalized she moved in. Her aunt's friends keep her busy taking over her aunt's responsibilities because "her aunt would want her to do it". Her aunt's friend are really lovely secondary characters; but they can and do get pushy with Abby. It's nothing Abby can't handle once she learns to say "no". Her aunt's tenant, Tripp Blackston, is a complex character with a gruff and taciturn demeanor but a soft heart underneath. Once a body is discovered in her aunt's backyard and both her aunt and Tripp are implicated in the murder by town gossips, Abby is determined to clear them both. The story is well-crafted with several suspects, red herrings, and twists that kept Abby busy. I did catch on to who might have done it by a small clue dropped about midway through the book. What I really liked was that Abby didn't do any real snooping but just listened as people talked and asked a few questions. She also related everything she learned to the sheriff. The reveal proved my hunch to be correct but it was still a little scary for Abby. I will be looking for more of this series. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from NetGalley. All of the above opinions are my ow
I received a free copy of DEATH BY COMMITTEE by Alexis Morgan in exchange for an honest review. Abby McCree inherited more than her Aunt Sybil’s beautiful Victorian home. The town thinks she’s also inherited all of her aunt’s responsibilities. Abby, who hasn’t sewn anything more than a button since she was a child, finds herself the president of Aunt Sybil’s quilting guild. Abby, whose only close contact with the elderly has been through her recent conscription into the quilting guild, also finds herself chairing the town committee on elder services. In between all of the projects for which she’s been volunteered, Abby is trying to find time to go through her aunt’s belongings and to clear out the brambles that took over the yard. It’s the backyard that gets her into trouble; there’s a body back there. Since there was a rivalry between Abby’s beloved Aunt Sybil and the deceased, some friends of the deceased are spreading malicious lies about Aunt Sybil being the murderer. Abby sets out to prove her aunt was innocent and to avoid any additional responsibilities. This was very entertaining. I enjoyed it greatly. I was vastly amused about the amount of trouble the quilting ladies kept causing Abby. #DeathByCommittee #NetGalley