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by Melissa Glazer
Berkley, November 2007
224 pages
ISBN: 0425218368

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Carolyn Emerson is a 50-something, happily married woman living in Maple Ridge, Vermont. Her retired husband is now spending his time as a carpenter creating Shaker furniture and Carolyn has a do-it-yourself pottery shop and studio named Fire At Will. Life is good that is until Carolyn discovers the dead body of Betty Wickline in her shop one morning.

Carolyn can't figure out why Betty is dead in her shop. Other than being a sometime patron of the store, Betty was pretty much one of Carolyn's top disliked people in the world. But then Betty was pretty much disliked by most of the people in town, including her last husband and the people she had been blackmailing. To know her was to loathe her.

And now, for some unknown reason, people are keeping far away from the shop, not going in to buy or browse at all. Carolyn knows that if this dearth of customers keeps up her formerly successful business will close. She also has history with the local lawman, Sheriff Hodges, and knows that he isn't exactly speeding to find someone other than Carolyn to be guilty of the murder, so she decides that she must find the killer herself.

Along with her friends and students of her pottery class, the Fire At Will gang, Carolyn starts to investigate the killing, even though her husband and the sheriff warn her to not become involved in police business!

A MURDEROUS GLAZE has all the elements that make for a pleasant cozy murder mystery. The lead character is a very nice woman who lives in a lovely small town, has a caring spouse, a lot of close and helpful friends and there is very little violence, other than the original murder that took place before the book started. There are also the voices of people warning her off the case that gives her the push to keep on looking into the crime. Though all the ingredients are here for a good cozy, A MURDEROUS GLAZE, on the whole, is a little bit unsatisfying.

Instead of getting the readers to feel more of an attachment to Carolyn as a person, the book tends to simply talk about who could have done the deed and then goes about investigating each person in a rather dry fashion. We get to see a little bit of Carolyn's sense of humor, but mostly the story comes off as a step by step recipe for an amateur sleuth to start to figure out a murder.

The book also includes directions for a very easy pottery project. Though a little dry and impersonal, A MURDEROUS GLAZE is still enjoyable and you can finish it in one afternoon.

Reviewed by A. L. Katz, October 2007

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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