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Death of a Debtor*

Coming Home Again is Not Easy

Sophie Parker has returned to her hometown with her tail between her legs and barely two dimes to rub together after her father and brother were imprisoned for running a Ponzi scheme. Sophie isn’t finding much forgiveness from people she knew all her life even though she had nothing to do with her family’s criminality. She works as a pirate wench at a theme restaurant to pay the bills, and it’s barely doing that. Right when she’s about to suffer some embarrassment about not being able to pay for her groceries even though she has coupons, her old crush from high school steps in, pays, and helps her save face. Soon, however, things go from bad to worse when that crush is murdered, and Sophie is suspect number one.

I loved Sophie’s character. She lived life in the highest echelons of society, and now she’s doing what she has to do to survive. She’s resilient and resourceful and still has an honest pride and self-esteem despite what life has thrown at her and what others think about her. Like all good cozies, this book had a cast of quirky characters, including the Sophie’s Aunt Rose, whom she promised her father she would help take care of, and a diverse group of people in a couponing group who help her figure out the murder. I think it’s a fun idea to use couponing as the basis of a series of cozy mysteries. I love cozies, and I don’t think I’ve seen that particular spin on a cozy before. The dialogue is snappy, and Sophie’s interior monologue shows both her humor and her desperation, making her a real character. The book has some odd problems with grammar, punctuation, and usage. She had more creative comma issues than most. But this didn’t detract from the story, and I feel like this is a great start to a fun new cozy mystery series.