Alibis and Amethysts
A Crystal Shop Mystery
By Sharon Pape
Intermix Books
Penquin Group

Life had changed in a heartbeat for Jaye Saylor. She was content teaching Earth Science to students in Middle School until her best friend, Sierra, decided to open a bakery in Sedona, AZ. Jaye packs her bags and moves to the artist-inspiring town.

Now her life revolves around her little crystal and gemstone shop and Sierra was living up to her own challenge with her bakery.

After dinner at Finnegan’s, Jaye is told, not persuaded, to go back to Sierra’s to taste her new Linzer Tortes. No sooner do they settle in Sierra’s home and let her dog out in the backyard do they start hearing him bark. He was barking for a reason: he found a body, that of the former Peggy Krueger, Sierra’s only bakery competition in town.

Call it fate, but now they’re officially named “people of interest.” Though Jaye is determined to arrive at the truth. That means she, Sierra and Native American friend, David, have to become amateur sleuths.

Then in walks a new mysterious creature. A strange, but interesting animal has adopted Jaye and takes refuge in her apartment. It’s so unlike any living creature that it can’t be classified. Jaye is definitely attached to her, but she is a bit of a distraction when working on the case. She looks something like a cat, but that’s where the similarities end.

What I love about cozy mysteries are average people placed in the greatest challenge of their lives. Someone’s life is always on the line. It’s their intuitive investigation that solves the case. Jaye knows about geology, Sierra knows about baking and people, and David has family and tribal connections. Together they formulate a plan and examine any clue that crosses their path.

Alibis and Amethysts has characters you care about. Their personalities are realistic, their attitudes, experiences and participation in the storyline keep your attention. I love that Arizona was the setting and Native American life was featured. I know this added to my interest. I’m not sure I would have had the little unclassified creature playing such a big role in the mystery. I would have preferred a longer path to the truth with a few more twists and turns, but there were enough suspects to make you wonder who killed Peggy. I loved the characters and would hope to read more about them in the future. I recommend the book to anyone who enjoys light cozies vs. hard-hitting murder mysteries.

Four cute creatures out of five
Denise Fleischer
October 6, 2013