Murder of a Small Town Honey by Denise Swanson

This is the current read over at the Cozy Mystery Corner on Goodreads.  This is the first book in a well established cozy mystery series currently on book 17.  The protagonist, Skye, is a school psychologist who is being forced to return home to a small town Scrumble River and in the process needs to eat some humble pie over statements that she made when giving her valedictorian speech and leaving town for greener pastures.

I liked the main character, Skye, when she dealt with school officials in her capacity as a school psychologist. Other times she seemed to regress and behave immaturely, usually when dealing with her family members.  The really interesting thing here that the author seems to go against the basic norm of cozies, that is the small town = good, big city = bad trope.  Everything that caused Skye to flee Scrumble River is pointed out through her interactions with the people in the town and particularly the school system, racism, sexism, lack of privacy, intolerance, and lack of compliance with ADA and FAPE (for non-teachers these acts apply to special education in schools among other issues).  It is really unusual, at least in my cozy reading, to have the the setting of the book and the characters, other than the lead, painted in such an unflattering light. The author took a huge risk that she would alienate her audience, but it paid off.  As a reader, you end up rooting for Skye, to solve the mystery and one up the small minds she is dealing with in the town.

I did enjoy this and will read more in the series to see what happens to Skye.

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