cover image Leave Tomorrow Behind: A Stella Crowne Mystery

Leave Tomorrow Behind: A Stella Crowne Mystery

Judy Clemens. Poisoned Pen, $24.95 (290p) ISBN 978-1-4642-0204-9

In Clemens’s heartfelt fifth Stella Crowne mystery (after 2008’s Different Paths), the Pennsylvania dairy farmer has her hands full at the county fair, between mentoring her teen employee, Zach, and supporting her veterinarian friend, Carla Beaumont, who’s in charge of making sure nothing’s amiss with the fair animals. Stella’s unfortunate discovery of the body of Rikki Raines, local country music star, lying dead under a pile of manure, leads to confrontations with the police and with reporters on behalf of herself and her friends, making her suddenly aware of the cheating and bad behavior going on in both the animal and pageant competitions. Meanwhile, she’s fighting with her fiancé Nick’s sister, Miranda, who wants her out of jeans and into fancy catering halls for the wedding Stella has no interest in planning. Clemens creates a cozy, safe-feeling community that needs a fierce defender like Stella to protect it from the bad eggs, and readers will love her determination to make things right while letting everyone live the way he or she desires. (Dec.)