Wedding planner Kelsey McKenna is just a few hours away from wrapping up her latest job: a destination wedding in the charming, colonial Mexican town of San Miguel de Allende. The reception is all set up, the tequila donkey is waiting outside, and the bride and groom are standing on the altar, pledging their eternal love. But just as the priest is about to pronounce them husband and wife, one of the bridesmaids upstages the couple by collapsing into a floral arrangement. Worst of all, Kelsey discovers that she hasn’t just fainted-she’s dead. The demanding mother of the bride, Mrs. Abernathy, insists Kelsey not tell the wedding party; she paid for a wedding after all, not a funeral.
Losing a bridesmaid is bad enough, but when the bride’s sister is arrested for murder, Mrs. Abernathy demands that Kelsey fix the matter at once. And although she’s pretty sure investigating a murder isn’t in her contract, crossing the well-connected mother of the bride could be a career-killer. Before she can leave Mexico and get back to planning weddings, Kelsey must deal with stubborn detectives, another dead body, and a rekindled romance in this smart, funny cozy debut perfect for fans of Carolyn Haines.
As a fan of cozy mysteries, I have to say this book was a very entertaining start to a new series. From the first chapter I found myself hooked. Not only did I find Kelsey to be a likeable character, but I admired her willingness to go above and beyond for her clients.
After one of the bridesmaids collapses and dies during the ceremony, Kelsey finds herself in a whirlwind of stress and confusion. As the wedding planner, her pain in the neck client expects her to handle every facet of the poor woman’s affairs. But when one of the wedding party members is arrested by the Mexican police, her terror of a client expects her and her alone to fix everything. Teaming up with her friend, Brody, Kelsey finds that every effort she makes to help is only making matters worst. All of which is just infuriating her client and keeping her from returning home to tend to the next wedding she’s been planning.
I’m not sure I would exactly consider this a cozy mystery. It doesn’t seem to fit the common format for those type of stories. However, it is an enjoyable fast paced mystery. Even better, Kelsey’s attempts to help or investigate aren’t completely out of the realm of realism. When she uncovers a key piece of evidence, it’s not because she’s snooping, but because she is packing up the dead bridesmaid’s room. And though it’s beyond ridiculous to expect a wedding planner to solve a murder, it’s not ridiculous for a wealthy entitled client to assume she should drop everything in order to fix everything that has gone wrong. All of which add that needed air of realism that so many cozy mysteries lack.
The plot struggled a bit about three-quarters of the way through. By that point it seemed as if the story line was just being drawn out. But that’s something that will improve as more books for the series come out. Hopefully the next book will be just as entertaining as this one. Either way I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery.
Reviewer’s note: I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.