Trouble at the Buckeye Festival
by Alice Kanaka
Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense
Print Length: 218 pages
Reviewed by Akram Herrak
A delightfully warm detective mystery led by two retired seniors and their beloved hometown festival
When you hear the words “mystery novel,” you rarely expect a delight. You think of murder, crime, investigation, stress, but what about warmth, humor and friendship? That is exactly what Alice Kanaka has achieved with Trouble at the Buckeye Festival. Like a cozy tale written for adult children who refused to grow up, this book is as fun as it is charming.
Bumfuzzle and Cattywampus are two elderly citizens of a quiet little town on the hunt to unravel the source of the incidents going down at the Buckeye festival. What’s usually just a fun festival with activities like horseshoe throwing competitions and chili and pie baking contests is facing trouble this year as an unknown perpetrator is causing mayhem around the town, ranging from shaving a cat’s tail and attempting to poison the chili to murder.
Marge and Joey, a retired teacher and a war veteran respectively, unmarried and friends for a long time, find themselves at the heart of this mystery that subverts from the norm of young crime-solvers. This book celebrates the sense of adventure that very few people are fortunate enough to keep beyond their youth.
The setting of the town of Buckeye is brought to life in an endearing way. The festivities are portrayed with fun and excitement, but it’s the people who make it feel genuine along with the unavoidable small town politics. This delightful whodunit reminds me of one of my favorite 80s films, Tim Curry’s Clue (1985), as they both take something as morbid as murder and turn it whimsical and fun, a feat easier said than done.
Trouble at the Buckeye Festival will serve as an excellent companion for a quiet evening. Surrender yourself to its coziness and let its charming characters and setting take you to a place of mystery, friendship, romance, redemption and values. It is advertised as the first in a new series starring this unlikely detective duo, and personally, I cannot wait for their next adventure.
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