Deserted and left nearly broke by her philandering husband, Josiah Reynolds ekes out a living by keeping bees and selling honey at the farmer’s market in Lexington, KY. When a man is found dead, head down in one of her hives, her already challenging life is turned upside down. It doesn’t help that the dead man is Richard Pidgeon, a man she has had bad encounters with, and his car is not found near the scene, making the police wonder if his death might be the result of foul play. Her life is further complicated when the lead detective on the case is a former student from her time as a college professor, a man who has a grudge against her because she reported him for cheating on one of her tests, costing him his athletic scholarship.
When Josiah starts getting letters accusing her of not only killing Pidgeon, but her late husband as well, she knows someone’s trying to frame her, but, having decided that Pidgeon’s death was just an unfortunate accident, the police are no longer interested. All of the police force, with the exception of the one cop who has a major grudge against her.
Death by a Honeybee by Abigail Keam is not your ordinary cozy mystery. It’s also the story of a middle-aged southern woman trying to make her way through life with a minimum of fuss and bother, but who is plagued with problems on all sides.
The author paints a brilliant picture of southern society, with snippets of interesting history thrown in for good measure. The protagonist, Josiah Reynolds, is feisty and independent, but slightly overweight and suffering from asthma, she’s hardly a superhero. This alone makes the story intriguing, as the author sets up situations that seem too much for someone in her condition, and then resolves them logically, and with a bit of humor.
Josiah just replaced Kinsey Milhone as my favorite female mystery character. We senior citizens have to stick together.
This is the first book in the series, and the ending is something of a cliffhanger, but it was still an enjoyable read, and I’m looking forward to the next in the series. I give this one four stars.