The tranquility of the village of Bear Creek is disrupted by the suspicious death of the owner of the local Inn. Investigating a murder case isn't Deputy Tempe Crabtree's job, but when the detectives don't look any further than Nick Two John as the primary suspect, Tempe put the planning for her wedding on hold.  It doesn't take her long to find out that several more people wanted the victim dead. Tempe follows the trail of clues putting her job, her upcoming marriage, and herself in peril.
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Deputy Tempe Crabtree arrests Nick Two John for slashing the tires of a logging truck during a protest. On the way to the jail, he repeatedly begs for his freedom. He believes that with her Native American heritage, she should understand she should understand what the loggers represent and not arrest him. Then he offers to reveal a secret information if she’ll release him. While she is curious to know the information, she does not give in.

She begins to regret that decision when Andre Donato, owner of the Bear Creek Inn, collapses and dies in the kitchen when Tempe and her minister boyfriend Hutch are there eating dinner. It is ruled a heart attack until another worker collapses with similar symptoms. She is saved, but it becomes evident that both people were poisoned.

The police center their investigation on Nick Two John. Deputy Crabtree is convinced he didn’t do it, but she is soon pushed out of the investigation. She comes up with other suspects with good motives and begins to investigate on her own.

When she becomes the target of the killer, she knows she’s close, but can she discover the identity of the killer before the killer takes care of her?

I highly recommend this book. It is the first I’ve read in this series. It won’t be the last. Deputy Crabtree is a very likeable character. Her son and fiancÚ really add to the story. The townspeople do too. I like the setting. It is a very fast and enjoyable cozy read.

Dawn Dowdle

Deputy Tempe Crabtree is busy planning her wedding to Pastor Hutch Hutchinson and keeping the streets of Bear Creek safe for tourists so when the owner of the local inn dies under mysterious circumstances. The detectives don't look any further than Nick Two John, an Indian who had the knowledge to commit the crime and the motive, he is having an affair with the deceased's wife. But Tempe doesn't believe he is guilty and despite being told not to interfere, she puts her wedding plans on hold to try to find the real killer and it doesn't take her long to find several more good suspects, including his wife. But the detectives won't take her seriously and keep telling her to stay out of it and it isn't unitil she is almost killed that everyone realizes she might be on to something.

In this prequel to the Tempe Crabtree mystery series, we get our first glimpses into Tempe's determination to let nothing, not even the chance of dying, get in the way of her pursuit of justice. If you are already a Tempe fan, you will enjoy this look back at her early years and if you aren't this will make a big fan of you.

Kathy Thomason