cover image September Fair: A Murder-by-Month Mystery

September Fair: A Murder-by-Month Mystery

Jess Lourey, . . Midnight Ink, $14.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-7387-1872-9

Lourey's lively fifth murder-by-month mystery (after 2008's August Moon ) finds Mira James, assistant librarian and part-time reporter for the Battle Lake Recall , covering the beauty pageant to elect Milkfed Mary, Queen of the Dairy, at the Minnesota State Fair. Unfortunately, “drop dead gorgeous” Ashley Pederson, a native of Battle Lake, Minn., turns up poisoned to death in the refrigerated room where, as winner of the contest, she was having her head sculpted in butter. Mira, in her effort to solve Ashley's murder, uncovers smalltown jealousies, secret love affairs, embezzlement and a big dairy concern engaged in dubious practices. The author does a good job of presenting the fairground activities, even if some of them, like sheep riding (billed as “mutton busting”), border on the absurd. Cozy fans who aren't sticklers for credibility will be entertained. (Sept.)