After Savannah’s father dies unexpectedly of a heart attack, she drops everything to return home to St. Petersburg, Florida, to settle his affairs–including the fate of the beloved, family-owned glass shop. Savannah intends to hand over ownership to her father’s trusted assistant and fellow glass expert, Hugh Trevor, but soon discovers the master craftsman also dead of an apparent heart attack.
As if the coincidence of the two deaths wasn’t suspicious enough, Savannah discovers a note her father left for her in his shop, warning her that she is in danger. With the local police unconvinced, it’s up to Savannah to piece together the encoded clues left behind by her father. And when her father’s apprentice is accused of the murders, Savannah is more desperate than ever to crack the case before the killer seizes a window of opportunity to cut her out of the picture. . .
The fact that this cozy features stained glass made me smile as it reminded me that my mother took a class in creating stained glass several years ago. It takes courage to create, and to work in a medium where painful cuts are more of a when than an if. But the results can be stunning.
My heart ached for poor Savannah. Not only has she just buried her father and is wading through the post-passing miasma of grief and winding up the story of his life, when a close family friend and the man to whom she hoped to sell her father's business is found dead in the studio. There are two men who have been vying to buy the business (or at least the property on which it sits) and the lengths to which they'll go to win their suit are crass, to say the least, possibly murderous to say a lot more than that.
Add to that, Savannah's father's sense that he was in danger, so he left codes and puzzles for his daughter to solve hopefully pointing to the source of that danger. Of course, that source would be pointing this or her own fingers madly in other directions to deflect suspicion and one of their easiest targets is a young apprentice glassworker, a man of incredible talent, but whose mind works differently than the minds of those around him. Kudos to Savannah for defending and clearing this gentle soul.
I adored the puzzle/code aspect of Pane and Suffering. My favorite puzzles are called logic problems so when I encounter something like this, my mind brings out boxes, files and little virtual plastic sorting trays to start playing with the clues, trying to figure things out on my own. Ms. Hollon provided us with a wealth of suspects and enough clues to hold our interest without giving too much away too soon.
The loss of Hollon from the field of engineering to full-time writer status is a definite gain to readers in general and cozy mysteries in particular. Definitely looking forward to the next step here.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Cheryl Hollon now writes full-time after she left an engineering career of designing and building military flight simulators in amazing countries such as England, Wales, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, and India. Fulfilling the dream of a lifetime, she combines her love of writing with a passion for creating glass art. In the small glass studio behind her house in St. Petersburg, Florida, Cheryl and her husband design, create, and produce fused glass, stained glass, and painted glass artworks. Visit her online at her Website, on Facebook or on Twitter @CherylHollon.
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(Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.)
Frankly, I had a difficult time getting this post up today. I found out that yesterday, one of my all-time favorite authors (Joyce Lavene) and half of a prolific husband-wife writing team (along with Jim) passed from this world to what lies beyond. But Joyce probably would have encouraged me to get over myself and fulfill my promise, so here I am.
All who knew her and know about the events of the last day are shocked and heart-broken. While the cozy genre has lost a talented writer, her readers have also lost a great friend and a kind soul.
Rest in peace, my friend.