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A Nose for Hanky Panky

By Sharon Love Cook
       

       “A Nose for Hanky Panky” is author Sharon Love Cook’s debut novel and is set in a Granite Cove, a suburb north of Boston. The story centers on the murder of a well-respected psychologist, Dr. Vivian Klinger, therapist for many, but friend to few. The police investigation leaves a lot to be desired; especially in the mind of local newspaper reporter Rose McNichols.

Change is in the wind for Granite Cove as historical buildings are replaced by homes for well heeled newcomers. There is even a high probability that open spaces near the ocean will be swallowed up by ritzy condos.

As a hometown girl, as well as a reporter, Rose is in the perfect situation to interact with a wide variety of people about town. Rose knows people from all walks of life and is confident and capable of asking just the right probing questions to get answers that law enforcement cannot. As she works to put the clues together to solve the mysterious murder, Rose finds herself in danger. Never one to shy away from a story Rose digs deeper and deeper. Will she ultimately pay the price for sticking her nose into the investigation? Or will her sharp mind and yes, nosiness, reveal the sources of hanky panky going on in Granite Cove?

Sharon Cook has a delightful way of introducing her characters so that they charm their way right into the reader’s heart. Good guys and bad guys (or good gals and bad girls) are written with such descriptive detail that they spring to life in one’s imagination. This is a cozy small town mystery that makes a reader feel at home within its pages. There are even an assortment of dogs with unique personalities and issues. From a pure bred pampered pooch with an aversion to Cowboy Hats, to an auto yard pit bull with an uncertain fate the dogs leave their mark on the story. Not to be forgotten is Rose’s own Lab, Chester, her lovable, aging housemate. The local color is well represented and one can picture the seagulls, smell the seafood restaurant and hear the ocean waves crashing to pulled me into the tapestry of Granite Cove.

There’s more than a sprinkle of humor throughout, often in unexpected scenes. More than once I found myself laughing loudly enough to attract attention as I read. A special bonus is included here and there at the end of chapters: Rose also writes a housekeeping hints column for the Granite Cove Gazette, and the letters from readers are answered by Rose’s alter-ego, “Auntie Pearl”, who writes with a wry sense of humor while never directly answering the reader’s tough questions; questions which seldom seem to address housekeeping issues, forcing “Pearl” to deflect the non-conforming questions with common sense household tips.

With engaging characters, ranging from a former high school athlete facing raging addiction problems as an adult, to Rose’s ornery senior citizen father, her newspaper cohorts, best friend Betty Ann, and many more locals, “A Nose for Hanky Panky” is sure to spark the interest of just about any avid mystery reader. This is most definitely a five star novel in my book!

Sharon Love Cook is a multitalented woman. She not only wrote this fabulous novel, she also designed, illustrated and painted the cover! Kudos to Ms. Cook for a story well told!


The Book

Mainly Murder Press
September 2010
Paperback
0982589980 / 978-0982589984
Mystery/Cozy
More at Amazon.com
Excerpt
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The Reviewer

Laura Hinds
Reviewed 2010
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