When a group of friends agree to help staff a food truck for a country music festival, they have no idea they will be next door to murder. The Red Pony food truck offers a delicious menu of food, but will the entrée be overshadowed by deadly events? Dianne Harman brings her High Desert Cozy Mystery crew back for a third adventure, this one filled with food, art, music and nefarious dealings.
Psychic Laura James owns the compound where the six friends hatch their plans for the festival. Her artist-boyfriend Les Anderson has joined the festivities. Laura’s sister Marty Morgan is engaged to Detective Jeff Combs of the Palm Springs Police Department. Marty’s background in art and antiques appraisal ties in nicely with Laura’s work for an insurance company. John Anderson, owner of The Red Pony food truck, is always trying out his new recipes on the little group. He and his assistant Max Samuel brought samples of the planned menu for the upcoming music festival to reward the volunteers.
While the six seem well suited to work together for the few days of the High Desert Country Music Festival, a problem soon develops: Jacque Ruchon, John’s main rival will be part of the Festival, too. All of the ingredients are present for cooking up a recipe of trouble.
Harman’s core characters are adults, well-established along career tracks. Watching them deal with the youth factor at a music festival brings a light element to the story, while Marty’s involvement with an art appraisal for the owner of the ranch housing the festival lends a warm family touch. Woven throughout the story are the intrigues of a competitive business and people with addiction issues.
As befits a cozy mystery, the violence takes place off-page, the language is mild and sexual innuendo is kept to a minimum. Harman’s deft handling of the multitude of work roles involved makes for an enjoyable jaunt into a dangerous world. Are you brave enough to visit the High Desert world she describes?
This book will appeal to readers who like mysteries without grim bloody descriptions. The art aspects of Marty’s appraisal work will delight art enthusiasts. The volume includes recipes for many of the dishes served in the story, making it a treat for cooks.
Murdered by Country Music: A High Desert Cozy Mystery
By Dianne Harman
Available in both print and ebook formats
Disclaimer: This review is based on a review copy provided by the author or publisher with no constraints as to content. All opinions are my own.