One of my favorite discoveries since I have doing book review is author Nancy Mehl. I read her novel ‘Missing Mabel’ last year (you can read my review here). The latest book in the ‘Hometown Mysteries’ series is ‘Blown Away.’
Here is the synopsis of this fun novel:
Death Is No Clowning Matter. Hilde Higgins has an unexplainable dislike of clowns. Now she’s fallen for a handsome stockbroker moonlighting as a clown at the children’s hospital, and when “Binky” Tuttwiler ends up dead, Hilde’s boyfriend suddenly becomes a murder suspect. Can Hilde solve the mystery before a Kansas twister blows all the evidence away?
Here is the biography of this author:
Nancy Mehl lives in Wichita, Kansas, with her husband, Norman, and her son, Danny. She’s authored nine books and is currently at work on two new series for Barbour Publishing. Her titles include 'Simple Deceit,' 'Simple Secrets,' 'Simple Choices,' 'Bye Bye Bertie, and 'Cozy in Kansas.'
All of Nancy’s novels have an added touch—something for your spirit as well as your soul. “I welcome the opportunity to share my faith through my writing,” Nancy says. “It’s a part of me and of everything I think or do. God is number one in my life. I wouldn’t be writing at all if I didn’t believe that this is what He’s called me to do. I hope everyone who reads my books will walk away with the most important message I can give them: God is good, and He loves you more than you can imagine. He has a good plan especially for your life, and there is nothing you can’t overcome with His help.”
She and her husband attend Believer’s Tabernacle in Wichita, Kansas.
I love the main character of Hilde Higgins! She is a funny young lady, and always gets to the root of the stories in which she ends up involved! Here’s an example of her humorous worldview, and Mrs. Mehl’s great writing:
I have pens from almost every state in the union, and I have no earthly idea how some of them found their way into my possession. I figure it’s some kind of cosmic joke—God’s way of messing with me a little. The only positive thing to come from my humiliating kleptomania came last winter, when a pen I’d accidentally absconded led to the solution of a murder. So it’s not all bad.
And here’s a comical description of Hilde’s goldfish, Sherlock:
Although actually, nothing about Sherlock is plain. He’s big and beautiful—and he listens to me when I talk. At first Adam didn’t believe me when I told him about my goldfish’s listening skills. But he’s seen Sherlock swim up to the side of his tank and stare at me when I speak to him. Now he’s a reluctant believer. And Adam has also seen Sherlock wave his fin at me. In fact, he’s waved at Adam a few times, causing my down-to-earth boyfriend a little consternation.
“If this fish belonged to anyone else,” he said to me, “I’d think it was my imagination. But if there is anyone on earth who could train a goldfish to wave, it would be you, Hilde Higgins.” (pp. 36-37)
Another quirky part of Hilde’s character is her obsession with the meat product named SPAM. Although I haven’t eaten it in decades (!), I think the recipe at the back of the book for Hilde’s SPAM Salad Sandwiches sounds really tasty!
As was the case in ‘Missing Mabel,’ Hilde has a strong faith in God and His sovereignty:
Adam squeezed my hand and started to pray. Getting my focus off the storm and remembering that God is my true shelter helped to drive away the fear that tried to grip me. God had always protected me against the storms of life. He would protect me against this one, too. (pp. 54-55)
Hilde has a lot of great Christian friends. For instance, her neighbor, Gabe, has some great wisdom on our thought life:
“… Once you start to change your thinking and stop dwelling on things that have already happened, God gives you the grace to walk forward, free from the hurt and the anger. But you’ve got to take that first step.” (p. 120)
I love this passage that shows that our actions affect our friends and our witness for Christ. This is Hilde’s friend Paula’s explanation after she asks to go to church with her on Sunday:
“I want you to know that I’m willing to find out just what you see in this God thing. And it’s because I see so much love in you, Hilde. No matter how weird I get or what stupid thing I do, you never quit being my friend. If you learned that from God, then I’ve got to check Him out.” (p. 183)
In addition to all of the comedy and spiritual element, this book is also a murder mystery. Hilde is a bit of a sleuth, and she has a detective/investigator thought process. She has a great intuition about people’s motives and character. The suspense element is handled very expertly by Mrs. Mehl. There were a lot of clues that came together in Hilde’s mind at the end. She kept me guessing until the very end! And I was happy to see the final scene in the novel happen. It definitely makes me look forward to more books in this wonderfully entertaining series!
You can order this book here.
This book was published by Barbour Books and provided by The Suspense Zone for review purposes.