“Devil’s trumpet” by Mary Rosenblum – Book Review

This well written cozy mystery is the first in a series of four novels featuring landscape designer Rachel O’Connor. It has been awhile since I’ve read a ‘cozy’ mystery and this one was a delight.

The blurb:

All Rachel O’Connor wants is for her business to be a success. But when her client is found at the bottom of a nearby cliff, she suspects murder and starts looking for the truth – a dangerous pastime that her high school sweetheart, now a detective, doesn’t approve of. ‘The Devil’s Trumpet’ is a gripping murder mystery, with a green-fingered twist.

Rachel O’Connor and her Guatemalan laborer Julio have a job restoring the grounds of an old hotel on the banks of the Columbia River in the scenic Willamette Valley, Oregon. The problem is that the owner, Henry Bassinger, hasn’t paid her in awhile and has been acting increasingly strange. Surely he is too young for Alzheimers? When he suffers from a fatal fall, the duo have to leave the job, but Rachel is determined to find out the circumstances of her client’s death.

Rachel has a big new job on – designing the huge yard of a doctor. She and her assistant Julio are hard at work when she remembers that she has to pick her mother up from the train. The doctor offers to go in her stead so that she can complete her work doing up his yard for his granddaughter’s wedding.  When he returns the two seem awfully chummy… the next thing you know, Rachel’s mother and Rachel’s client, the good doctor are engaged to be married!

Rachel is still reeling from what she thinks is her mother’s rash decision when she meets up with her own first love that she hasn’t seen since high school. Jeff Price is back in town and is a new member of the town’s police force.  He is looking into the death of Henry Bassinger.  Much to Jeff’s disapproval, Rachel continues her own investigations, much to her own peril…

Devil’s trumpet” was a very enjoyable ‘cozy’ mystery.  With vivid description and engaging characters, it was humorous and well-plotted without being ‘cutesy’.  Rachel’s opinionated cat, Peter, added to the allure of this book for me.

The plot explores various family dynamics as well as touching on the subjects of landscape design and jazz music. Not deep by any means, this light mystery was a joy to read. I have already purchased the second in the series “Deadly nightshade”, and plan to read it just as soon as my review commitments allow.

Oh, and about the title. How clever! Readers will find that it has double relevance to the story!I was lucky enough to receive a digital copy of this novel from Endeavor Press via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.Mary Rosenblum was born in Levittown, New York, and is a science fiction and mystery author. She grew up in Allison Park, “a dead little coal mining town outside Pittsburgh PA,” and attended Reed College in Oregon, earning a biology degree.
Her first story came out in 1990 and her first novel in 1993.  From 1999 to 2002 she wrote the “Gardening Mysteries” novel series.
She has won awards for her science fiction novels, “The Drylands” and “Sacrifice”.
An accomplished cheesemaker, she teaches the craft at selected workshops.
At the age of 57, Rosenblum earned her pilot’s license. Located in Oregon, she is one of only 10% of female pilots in that state.

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
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6 Responses to “Devil’s trumpet” by Mary Rosenblum – Book Review

  1. Pingback: Gardener Mysteries // by Mary Freeman | The Aroma of Books

  2. Annika Perry says:

    Lynne, I like the sound of this cozy mystery and you describe it so well and tantalisingly…I wonder what the double relevance of the title can be? Also as a keen gardener I’m intrigued by the concept of a gardening mystery! 😀 That you’ve already bought the second in the series is a resounding endorsement of Mary’s book and one I want to look at as well. Congratulations to Mary on her writing success and also on her pilot’s licence! 😀


  3. James McEwan says:

    Sounds a bit like “Rosemary and Thyme” – TV – Felicity Kendal and Pam Ferris. I enjoy cozy crime, although the menace prevails it is not overstated. The main character has this compulsion and drive to solve the ‘murder’ and that if this is done well the reader is drawn into their shoes becoming part of the action. Great fun.


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