Murder, Mayhem and Bliss

Myrtle Grove Garden Club mystery Book 1

Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
308 Pages
Reviewed on 12/07/2014
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Loulou Harrington is a lifelong reader of mysteries and has always been a huge fan of the cozy genre, in particular. Originally published in romances, she is now writing what she has always loved to read--a good, old-fashioned mystery.

In the Myrtle Grove Garden Club mysteries, she is able to add touches of gardening, cooking, vintage shops, and the kind of family and friendship that makes rural community life so special. She hopes you enjoy sharing this world with her.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Julia Hopkinson for Readers' Favorite

Murder, Mayhem and Bliss: A Myrtle Grove Garden Club Mystery is the first cozy mystery novel by Loulou Harrington, and centres on the residents of Myrtle Grove in Oklahoma, USA. Jesselyn (Jesse) Camden, 50-ish and happily divorced, part-owns The Gilded Lily Tea Room and Coffee House, and works with her mum, Sophia, and nineteen-year-old excitable SueAnn and no-nonsense chef, Lindsey. Jesse’s good friend and local oil heiress, Vivian Windsor, is grateful for the help of the ladies from The Lily and their friends when her great-niece, Bliss, comes under suspicion after her slimy, cheating and all-round bad guy husband, Harry, is found floating face down and fully clothed in his luxury swimming pool. Can the ladies find the clues to clear Bliss; can they identify what happened to Harry; and can Jesse avoid incurring the professional ire of macho Sheriff Joe Tyler?

I loved reading Murder, Mayhem and Bliss and sincerely hope that there are more Myrtle Grove Garden Club Mysteries to come. Loulou Harrington’s writing is excellent and, as a result, the story is a smooth and easy read; the dialogue is realistic and believable, and the characters are three-dimensional, well-drawn and good fun. The book as a whole reminded me of Duffy Brown’s enjoyable Consignment Shop Mystery series. Jesse is a warm and likable lead and the supporting cast is entertaining. The mystery itself is juicy, there are plenty of suspects and the plot progresses logically. Jesse’s relationship with Sheriff Tyler is intriguing and, I imagine, can be explored further in subsequent books. I would heartily recommend this to all cozy mystery fans!

Patricia Day

Jesselyn Camden and her mother Sophia own and operate the Gilded Lily Tea Room and Coffee House; a popular coffee stop for locals in Myrtle Grove, Oklahoma, as it offers light meals and friendly service. You might call it the hub of the community. When prominent businessman Harold Kerr is found dead, the mayhem begins. Jesselyn becomes a persistent sleuth when Sheriff Joe Tyler becomes convinced that the man's wife Bliss Kerr, her friend and now widow, is the prime suspect in what could be a case of murder. The small community becomes a hive of suspicion with even the most innocuous resident falling under the shadow of doubt. When the death of a young woman is high-lighted and clandestine activities are tossed into the mix, you have the makings of a complicated read. The colorful mix of characters includes an oil-rich aunt; car dealership partnerships turned sour; possible business fraud and more. Friends of Sophia and Jesselyn are determined to solve the puzzle that is tearing relationships and trust apart.

Murder, Mayhem and Bliss by Loulou Harrington is a delightful read. The title describes the story well. The attention to detail while keeping the story light and the characters plausible makes the book hard to put down. Loulou Harrington skillfully weaves each figure into and out of the tale without causing confusion or consternation. I found myself running beside Jesselyn and agreeing with her clandestine activities in her determination to bring justice to reign. The surprise ending caught me unawares. I tend to attempt to solve any crimes and name the criminal, but this is one I missed. This is a good, clean and entertaining read.

Jack Magnus

Murder, Mayhem and Bliss: Myrtle Grove Garden Club Mystery Book 1 is a cozy mystery written by Loulou Harrington. Someone has murdered Harold Kerr, well-known to many because of his TV commercials for his large car dealership. The police are looking suspiciously at Bliss, his wife who is the great-niece of wealthy oil heiress, Vivian Windsor. She had arrived at her aunt's house at an alarmingly early hour on the morning Harold was found, claiming that she couldn't find her husband, and he wasn't answering her phone calls. Kerr's philandering nature was well-known to her and just about everyone in the small town of Myrtle Grove, Oklahoma, and her relations with their old friend, Bill, are just a bit too close. Jesse, Vivian's friend and protege is certain, however, that someone else is the murderer, and she's determined to track the killer down.

Loulou Harrington's cozy mystery, Murder, Mayhem and Bliss: Myrtle Grove Garden Club Mystery Book 1, is a well-plotted and tasty story that might have you dreaming of cinnamon buns and freshly made bread while you read. Jesse and her mother, Sophia, co-own a tea shop where much of the action and all of the baking occur. Harrington's sleuth is methodical and enthusiastic, but she's not exactly on good terms with the local sheriff, which leads to some tense stand-offs. It's fun to watch as she, Vivian and the ladies from the tea shop gather clues and sift out the red herrings. Murder, Mayhem and Bliss is a fast-paced story that I found hard to put down. I'm looking forward to future investigations featuring Jesse and the Myrtle Grove Garden Club.