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Reviewed by Julia Hopkinson for Readers' Favorite
When Nature Calls, the first book in the Nature Station Mystery Series, is Jannifer Powelson’s first novel, following her series of nature books for children. Kristen Matthews is the owner of the Nature Station, a complex of forest, wildflowers, wildlife, and hiking trails in Eklund, Illinois. Kristen is normally kept busy running the Station, worrying about her finances, and nursing her newly formed crush on handsome forester Brett Stevenson. Her life is thrown off course when she literally falls over the strangled body of one of her volunteers on the Station’s trails. Fearful of the effect of the murder on her business and doubtful of the progress of the Sheriff’s department, Kristen starts her own investigation. She finds herself not only suspecting some of her closest acquaintances, but also under personal threat from a killer that does not want to be found.
Jannifer Powelson’s love of all things nature-related is clear throughout When Nature Calls, with lots of charming detail about wildflowers and wildlife. The story quickly moves onto its mystery element and proceeds steadily through Kristen’s investigation, with assistance from the remaining volunteers and Eklund’s locals. The pace of the story is slightly slowed down by too much coverage of mundane things. However, the structure and plotting of the story is very good, and the question of ‘whodunit’ keeps the story moving along well. The conclusion is logical but not obvious; and the romantic element between Kristen and Brett is nicely played out. The book leaves a few loose ends about Eklund’s residents - hopefully for the next book in the series. This is a pleasant and enjoyable cozy mystery and I hope to read more.