Book Review: ILL-GOTTEN PANES (A Stained Glass Mystery) by Jennifer McAndrews

Series: A Stained Glass Mystery, #1
Publisher: Berkley
Released: July 1, 2014
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★½

Stained-glass aficionado Georgia Kelly packed up her city life for the quiet of small town Wenwood, New York. But the sleepy village’s peace is about to get shattered—by murder…

After a banking scandal loses Georgia her job and fiancé, she decides that a change of scenery will help piece her life back together. But escaping to her grandfather’s house in the old-fashioned, brick-making Hudson River hamlet of Wenwood, New York, turns out to be less relaxing than she expects. Not only is the close-knit community on edge about their beloved brickworks being turned into a marina to draw in tourists, one of those most opposed to the project winds up dead—cracked over the head with a famous Wenwood brick.

Georgia wouldn’t be broken up over the news except for the fact that the main suspect is the deceased’s biggest adversary—her grandfather. Now, to remove the stain from her grandy’s record, Georgia will have to figure out who in town was willing to kill to keep the renovation project alive, before someone else is permanently cut out of the picture…

ILL-GOTTEN PANES is a promising start to a new cozy mystery series set in the tumble-down village of Wenwood, New York. After a huge work scandal and getting dumped by her boyfriend, accountant Georgia Kelly retreats to her grandfather’s house in Wenwood to decide on her next move.

When she gets to Wenwood, Georgia sees that the once booming town has fallen on hard times, and for some reason, the locals give her a chilly reception. There’s a big controversy over the construction of a new marina that is meant to revitalize Wenwood. Things get worse when one of the opponents is murdered, and Georgia’s grandfather ends up the prime suspect.

I really enjoyed the mystery in this book. It was fast-paced and well-plotted, and I liked how certain things that didn’t seem consequential ended up helping to solve the case. On the other hand, I didn’t love the characters and setting quite like I’d hoped. The town had a negative, unfriendly vibe – not a place I’d want to live.

Georgia was a determined amateur sleuth, though her personality fell flat at times. Like the town, she was also in a bad way having been dumped by her fiance and canned from her job. I was very intrigued by her stained glass hobby though. Before reading this book, I didn’t know much about it.

I’m curious to see if Wenwood can be transformed and if Georgia’s character blossoms in future books. There’s also a cute, fuzzball kitten the pet cozy mystery lovers will be crazy over.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.