Reviewed by Carol Kurtz
When Zeffie Got A Clue by Peggy Darty
"...a fun, easy going journey that will keep you guessing to the end."
Cozy mysteries are a comfortable fit for Christian fiction. By nature there is no gore, outright violence, or anything else too disturbing. They’re light and fun, as we follow casually along until we find the murderer. When Zeffie Got a Clue fits right in with a page turning plot that won’t give us nightmares.
Christy is a Christian, her father is a pastor, and her life is safe and predictable in the peaceful town of Summer Breeze, Florida. She’s on her second try at romance with Dan, and things are looking up for them. Many of us already know Christy, as she’s solved two other mysteries before, but this book stands alone just fine if you’re new to Summer Breeze. Now she’s trying to warm up a cold case she cares about very much. Kirby was her idol after he saved her from drowning. He was the all-American town hero, and his murder has remained unsolved for years.
The book’s opening scene, even the first line, hooks the reader right away. A sweet little girl enters Christy’s second hand shop. The girl is Zeffie, and she inadvertently opens Kirby’s case wide open again with an old jewelry box she holds in her hands. Since Christy happens to be a mystery writer, she can’t resist the opportunity to repay Kirby if she can only find his killer.
Our heroine is surrounded by an extended family of loving people, all who play a large part in her life, if not in solving this mystery. Perhaps an even bigger mystery here is why every character who is in the vicinity of the age of fifty refers to themselves as if they are elderly, and seem obsessed with talking about their age.
Zeffie has a sub plot all her own intertwined with the investigation, as the grandmother she loves and who has raised her is about to die. The only living relative they know of is definitely not going to give Zeffie the love and nurturing she needs, so Christy tries to find Zeffie’s unknown father. We’ve got a budding romance for Christy’s aunt and business partner, as well her own deepening relationship with Dan, which could be heading towards marriage. That is, if they can work out their uncertain future. She struggles to get closer to Dan, and she tries to be supportive as the possibility of a new job far away looms.
The number of suspects mounts, as do the coincidences, leading Christy and an officer friend closer and closer to the real truth of what happened to Kirby in his family mansion that day. We consider several scenarios, all pretty plausible, while none stands out as the obvious truth.
Thankfully, we haven’t been tricked by Darty. She doesn’t throw in some unrelated clue at the very end and reveal the murderer as someone we never could have guessed. That can be a frustration to the reader in this genre. It’s a satisfying ending all the way around, and a fun, easy going journey that will keep you guessing to the end.
Carol Kurtz Darlington is a certified personal trainer and a certified group fitness instructor who works with people who want to lose weight as well as those who just want to enjoy better health. She enjoys empowering and encouraging others to reach their health and fitness goals, feel better about themselves in the process, and enjoy more energy to stay active in all areas of their lives. She is the founder of Totally Fit With Carol, a Christian weight loss website featuring workout videos, health tips, exercise advice, and more. She loves her morning cappuccino and her beloved grand-dog. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and haunting Starbucks.