Wednesday, April 2, 2008

When Zeffie Got A Clue by Peggy Darty

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
When Zeffie Got a Clue
WaterBrook Press (March 18, 2008)
Peggy Darty


Peggy Darty is the award-winning author of twenty-seven books, including two other cozy mysteries set in Summer Breeze, Florida: When the Sandpiper Calls and When Bobbie Sang the Blues. She has worked in film, researched for CBS, and led writing workshops around the country. Darty and her husband call Alabama home but spend a great deal of time in Colorado, Montana, and on Florida’s Emerald Coast.


It’s an ordinary afternoon in Summer Breeze, Florida, when a young, wide-eyed girl steps into I Saw It First, the trash-to-treasure shop Christy Castleman and her Aunt Bobbie have opened. Clutching a jewelry box, Zeffie Adams tells Christy she needs money to pay her grandmother’s medical bills, prompting Christy to offer this curious visitor more than the jewelry box is worth–or so she thinks.

But complicated questions form when Christy rips out the box’s lining and uncovers a clue to a cold case murder mystery from eight years ago. Despite warnings from her family and handsome boyfriend Dan Brockman, Christy decides to do a little detective work of her own. After all, the infamous murder happened close to her grandmother’s farm. How risky could it be to take the jewelry box back to the Strickland plantation and ask around about it?

Soon Christy finds there is more to the small box than someone wants her to know. A jewelry theft. A mansion murder. Dangerous family secrets buried in history. Can Christy convince others to let go of the past before it’s too late?


This is the first book in Peggy Darty’s Sandpiper series that I have read, although it is the third in this cozy mystery series. While it is obvious that there is some history to be obtained in the previous two books, this story can be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel. The main character, Christy Castleman is a mystery writer, and her tenacious spirit and incurable curiosity seem to draw her into any local mystery that happens her way! While she does have a few close calls, these mysteries fulfill their genre, and the ending is as cozy as one could ask for.

This book was not a difficult read by any stretch, and would be perfect for an afternoon on the beach during Spring Break or for a rainy weekend curled beneath your favorite blanket. Christy’s small town Florida home of Summer Breeze and her close-knit family give the book a warm setting in which the mysteries unfold, and Christy’s blossoming relationship with Dan adds just enough romance to soften any dangerous edges to the story. The only obvious weaknesses that stood out to me was the weak premise for the beginning of an investigation - an 8-year-old cold murder case would be reopened on nothing more than a receipt found in a jewelry box? And while I can imagine that being saved from drowning is a significant event, Christy seems to have built a rather imaginary closeness to the murder victim over an event that happened when she was eleven years old. And for a writer, Christy spends very little time at her task!

However, this is a cozy, so I don’t suppose Peggy Darty wants her audience too keyed up at any one point. It’s a cute story and an easy read. The plot line does sort of jump around a little in places, but otherwise it makes for a really nice read. So check out the Sandpiper series….When the Sandpiper Calls, When Bobbie Sang the Blues, and the latest release, When Zeffie Got a Clue! If you are a fan of cozy mysteries, this may be the perfect read for your Spring Break vacation!

No comments: