Series: Keeley Carpenter #1
Published by Minotaur Books on January 19th 2016
Genres: Cozy, Mystery
Barnes & Noble
After ten years away, Keeley Carpenter is excited to be back in Belfrey, the traditional English village hometown she fled as a shy teen, with a plan to reopen her father's neglected butcher shop as a yoga café, where she will sell delicious vegetarian food by day and teach yoga classes at night. However the more traditional residents of Belfrey do not take kindly to this idea-or really anything they deem even remotely "New Age-y." Within an hour of her arrival, Keeley comes face to face with Detective Constable Ben Taylor, who tells her that someone has just tried to burn down her shop. When officers arrived to stop the blaze, a body was found upstairs. Horrified by this news, Keeley is also startled to be reintroduced to Ben as DC Taylor, as he was her high school crush. In spite of her instant attraction to him, Keeley is determined to keep Ben at arm's length.
As she settles back in to Belfrey and makes plans for her opening day, she soon finds herself embroiled in a murder investigation. When Keeley starts being threatened herself, she realizes someone may be out to kill more than her business prospects - but can she and Ben find the culprit before it's too late? A warm, intriguing cozy debut that includes recipes from Keeley's café, Downward Facing Death is perfect for fans of Laura Childs and Cleo Coyle.
This was a surprisingly good cozy mystery. Don’t get me wrong; I like the cozy mystery genre, but often I find that the books are written to be simplistic. The resolution to the mystery is usually the simplest answer, and the writing tends to veer off into “As you know, Bob” territory. Lots of over-explaining and a main character who runs around their small town randomly interrogating other residents while no one bats an eye.
Downward Facing Death was a fun start to a new series. Keeley Carpenter has just moved back to Belfrey, the small English town where she grew up after a ten-year absence. Her father was the local butcher, and after he died, his butcher shop passed from business to business until the latest recession left it vacant. Keeley’s decided to move back and open a new yoga studio/vegetarian cafe in the space. She’s spent the last ten years traveling – a few years in India, a few years in London, a few years in New York, and now she’s back.
As soon as she gets there, though, the cafe’s opening is put at risk when someone is murdered in the upstairs space and the building is set on fire. It’s all pretty standard cozy mystery fare, but Kelly’s writing is tight, and the mystery itself is engrossing. There’s the standard potential romance with a local police detective, a cast of characters I think could be a lot of fun to spend more time with, and a main character who didn’t drive me nuts with her nonsensical meddling. The only really quibble I had with it was that the culprit’s full reasoning didn’t make total sense. It did up to a point, but then it sort of… fizzled.
But I’m looking forward to the next installment of this series, and I’ll make a point of picking it up. If you’re looking to get in on a cozy series from the ground up, you’d do yourself a favor to grab this one.