Stranded, by Lorena McCourtney (Revell, 2006)
There’s not much better than a cozy mystery with a spunky heroine and a sprinkle of humour, and as such I always enjoy Lorena McCourtney’s Ivy Malone mysteries. Ivy is a self-proclaimed LOL—“little old lady”—and much like Miss Marple she uses her apparent harmlessness to solve the murders that keep happening around her.
Stranded is Ivy’s fourth case, set in the small, mountain town of Hello, Colorado. She and her travelling companion, Abilene, arrive after the murder—and after the townsfolk have decided who did it—but it doesn’t take long for Ivy’s “mutant curiosity gene” to kick in. Since they’re literally stranded in town until they can pay for a new engine for their motor home, she has time to indulge her curiosity and find the real killer.
Dead is one Hiram McLeod, a wealthy older gentleman about to embark on his ninth marriage. Hiram was a shrewd if not always upright businessman, and who knows how many enemies he had? It doesn’t take long for Ivy to discover a list of suspects. Unfortunately, she likes them all.
Fans of the series will welcome appearances by Ivy’s friends Magnolia and Geoff and her special friend Mac. Stranded is a pleasant read, not overly tense except for one scene near the end. Ivy’s always good for a few smiles, and I appreciate her practical faith. She may not know what’s going to happen next, but she’s sure God has something in mind.
Readers new to the series can jump right in with Stranded, but it may be wiser to start with book one, Invisible, which sets the stage and has this LOL staking out the local cemetery. Invisible is available as a free e-book through Christianbook.com, to get you started.
Lorena McCourtney has also written the Andi McConnell mystery series and the Julesburg Mysteries, as well as the women’s fiction/romance Searching for Stardust. She says there will be a fifth Ivy Malone book to answer some of our ongoing relationship questions about Ivy and Mac, so I guess I’ll have to be patient. You can find Lorena at her website or on Facebook.