When Taylor Madison's Volkswagen broke down just outside of Perdue, Texas' limits, she wondered if this whole trip was worth it. After all, her editor was waiting for her new book and Taylor was flat broke after paying for her mother's funeral expenses. How on earth was she going to afford to pay for car repairs? Still, at least her trusty Beetle made it to the little town where her mother grew up and where her Aunt Tessa lived. Taylor had never met her Aunt Tessa, in fact, she never even knew that she existed until she found a mysterious letter in her mother's jewelry box. Taylor was determined to meet her and to find out what drove them apart for all those long years. However, Tessa's reception wasn't exactly what she had hoped for. Tessa threw her out of her home without even giving her a chance to explain why she was there. Luckily, Sheriff Miles Crawford offered to make her a temporary deputy for the duration of the Rattlesnake Festival so she could earn enough money to pay Roger for her car repairs. Unluckily, Sheriff Crawford was dead within a few days of her arrival.
It appeared that the Sheriff was bitten by a huge rattlesnake while reading in his living room and died from poison. But Taylor Madison, aka "Maddy Taylor" mystery writer, knew a setup when she saw one. She was determined to find out what really killed this man who was kind to her and to pin down her Aunt Tessa regarding her mother Sarah. If only she could get her fellow deputies, Lester & Cal, to take her seriously, she would have some help with the investigation. But it would take some near death misses and other strange occurrences before anyone else in the sleepy town of Perdue would even consider that the Sheriff's death was murder...
This was a fabulous first book in a great new series. Taylor Madison is a wonderful heroine and has a dry sense of humor that I found very entertaining. All of secondary characters are great, too. There is Lester, the town's golden boy who is being groomed to become the next Sheriff; Cal, the other candidate for Sheriff who seems to be interested in Taylor in a romantic way; Hazel, Taylor's pet ferret who definitely has a personality of her own; Billy, the skittish sheriff dispatcher who is never quite sure what to keep a secret; Billy's sister, Rita, the waitress as Lucy's Cafe who doesn't know the meaning of the word secret and spreads rumors all over town, as well as a host of other characters to keep the story lively. The author does a great job at portraying life in a small town and the complex relationships between everyone. The mystery was well thought out and came to a natural conclusion. The story had lovely pacing and great descriptions. If you have enjoyed Charlaine Harris' Teagarden or Shakespeare series, you should love this series, too! Highly recommended for mystery lovers!
This report prepared by Debbie