As far back as 1992, the trade journal Publishers Weekly reported that “cozy mysteries, especially those with female protagonists, are the new publishing rage, outpacing crime novels that feature male private eyes and police detectives.” Twenty-eight years later, the genre is still with us and going strong.
Enter newcomer Alexa Bowie, the alter ego of Chuck Bowie, an author that is well-known in these parts, being from the Miramichi and all. He has decided to try his hand at writing a cozy mystery series, a departure from his Sean Donovan: Thief for Hire series. Here, Alexa uses a female protagonist, Emma Andrews (34), a great location (Newcastle, New Brunswick) and a wonderful old manse that she has inherited from her late father.
Emma has been living in Toronto, working as a freelance wine writer for lifestyle magazines when she gets notice that she needs to return to her birthplace to reclaim the Old Manse from the town. She doesn’t intend to stay in the sleepy little town, which she and her mother left eighteen years earlier, just clear up some legalities of ownership, then return home. Of course, things are not that simple for the stories’ purposes and many wrenches (and a few corpses) are thrown into Emma’s plans to get back to life in the big city.
Curious by nature, and making many friends in the short time she is back in town, she intends to look into the mysterious death of the Town Manager since she was the last one to see him alive after he threatened her to leave the Old Manse in the town’s hands.
Saying anymore might spoil a good little cozy mystery, with the requisite abundance of friendly and unfriendly people, handsome men to keep Emma’s interest, her kindly Aunt Emma and a ton of secrets swirling around. I think Alexa/Chuck is onto a good thing, and while cozy mysteries are generally not of great interest to me, these Old Manse mysteries, written by an excellent author established in a related genre (mystery/suspense/thriller) is bound to be a popular series. I just hope that by the end of them, all the inhabitants of the Miramichi are not killed off!
- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Independently published (July 15 2020)
- Language: English
- ISBN-13: 979-8665676555
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James M. Fisher is the Editor Emeritus of The Miramichi Reader. He began TMR in 2015, realizing that there was a genuine need for more book reviews of Canadian literature. It has since become Canada’s best-regarded source for the finest in new literary releases. James has been interviewed about TMR on CBC Radio and other media sites. He works as a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Technologist and lives in Miramichi, New Brunswick with his wife Diane, their tabby cat Eddie, and Buster the Red Merle Border Collie.