Saturday, April 02, 2022

Mining for Murder by Mary Angela

First Line: Zo Jones stood outside an estate sale on Mountain View Road, torn between a box of old keys and a box of old doorknobs.
The talk of the estate sale was a rare book about the history of Spirit Canyon, South Dakota-- a book said to contain the location of a famous stash of gold. When the buyer is found dead and there's no sign of his purchase, small business owner Zo Jones begins her search for her friend's killer as well as the book. 
I was intrigued by Mining for Murder's South Dakota setting, so I decided to give it a try even though it's the third book in the Happy Camper cozy series. What I found was an enjoyable mystery with a strong cast of characters.
Zo Jones is the owner of the Happy Camper Gift Shop.  As a baby, she was left at the police station and subsequently raised in a series of foster homes. Zo loves estate sales and traveling from place to place on her red Kawasaki motorcycle. Her main squeeze is Max, the forest ranger who can have a roaring fire going in minutes from rain-soaked wood. Zo's best friend, Jules, owns the Spirits & Spirits liquor store and voodoo shop. 
Spirit Canyon is right in the middle of the area around Mount Rushmore, and tourism is its main source of income. I was pleased to see that, whenever the history of the area was brought up, Zo made her feelings known about the indigenous tribes who were overrun by whites with gold fever. Speaking of gold, having a mystery surrounding a legendary Lost Dutchman-like treasure is always good, especially when it also involves an old house with secret rooms and compartments. 

I enjoyed this third Happy Camper mystery and didn't feel lost or confused by not having read the first two books. I did have to laugh, however, when Zo was crowding local law enforcement and was told point-blank, "You're a business owner... Go run your gift shop." I often wonder how many of the amateur sleuths in cozy mysteries can continue to pay their bills because they never seem to run their businesses.

Bill paying aside, Mining for Murder is an enjoyable mystery in a history-rich setting filled with strong characters. I wouldn't be surprised if I come back for more. 

Mining for Murder by Mary Angela
eISBN: 9781516110711
Lyrical Press © 2022
eBook, 304 pages
Cozy Mystery, #3 Happy Camper mystery
Rating: B
Source: Net Galley


  1. It does sound enjoyable, Cathy. And I really do like the realism of an amateur sleuth being expected to 'go run your gift shop.' I think it's really easy to slip into the 'disbelief' area and have the sleuth be able to access all sorts of records, interview witnesses, and so on. It's good to hear this one's a little more authentic about that sort of thing.

  2. You have officially piqued my curiosity about this series. I think I might like to become better acquainted with it.

    1. I'm almost tempted to read the first two books in the series.

  3. I really like the sound of this one! But then, a mystery revolving around a lost treasure is always intriguing. :)


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