Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Picture Perfect Murder by Jenna St. James is the first book in the Ryli Sinclair Mystery series. Ryli Sinclair didn't expect to end up back in her small hometown of Granville, or to be working as a reporter for the local paper. On Ryli's first day moonlighting as a forensic photographer, the body of Dr. Vera Garver is discovered with her heart missing. The list of suspects is a long one with everyone in town having a motive for murdering the unlikable local school superintendent. The handsome new chief, Garrett Kimble, tells her to leave the investigation to him, but surely a few journalistic questions wouldn't hurt? When Ryli begins receiving threats from the killer, she teams up with her Great-Aunt Shirley and her best friend, Paige, to find answers before she's next.
Jenna St. James puts a fresh spin on the cozy mystery genre, placing gruesome murders, a brazen great-aunt, and flirty fun in this upbeat and chaotic adventure. Ryli is a sincere and sassy reporter who decides to investigate the murder, and drags her best friend into the sleuthing. She's the sort of person that you'd want to be friends with. Her great-aunt is an enigma, with the gruffness and no nonsense personality of a hard-boiled detective. Some of the best scenes include Ryli investigating with the help of Paige and Great-Aunt Shirley as they get into a bit of comedic trouble. Shirley is brilliantly written and brings a fun energy to every scene. St. James captures the essence of what it means to be in a small town, from the gossiping women getting their hair done to how everyone knows everyone's business. Picture Perfect Murder is a unique take on a cozy mystery that never fades on the charm, with humor, sparkling characters, and a lot of spunk. A must-read!