One Foot in the Grove (Olive Oil Grove)
by Kelly Lane
Cover Artist: Susan Oberrender
Review by Mel Jacob
Berkley Mass Market Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780425277225
Date: 05 January 2016 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Finding a dead man on a midnight run starts Eva Knox on the trail of a murderer in Kelly Lane's lead off novel One Foot in the Grove, the first of the Olive Grove Mysteries. Persistence and a sense humor carry Eva toward a confrontation with the culprits that places her life in jeopardy.
When Eva Knox, known as the runaway bride, skips out on her Boston celebrity husband after she finds him having a go with another woman right before the wedding ceremony, her P.R. business goes out the window and she flees home to Abundance, Georgia. There, eighteen years earlier, she left her groom waiting in the church and fled. Local folks blamed her and only her family didn't castigate her. Now, she hopes to re-establish herself and handle P.R. for her father's olive oil business, but some memories are long and vindictive.
Life is further complicated when Eva, out for a midnight run, trips over a dead man and is zapped by lightning. Rescued by a Scot on horse, she wakes the next morning naked in a bedroom in his house. The doctor is worried about her heart. She also has a sprained ankle and cracked ribs. Determined to return home and help her sister Daphne maintain guest services for her historic inn in the former family home, she escapes by climbing down from the second story balcony and makes it through the woods to home.
Once there, she learns the police suspect her of murdering the dead man she tripped over. Her two sisters, Daphne, the southern belle, and Pepper-Leigh, Pep for short, the Goth queen, are determined to protect her. The local Sheriff is none other than the man she jilted eighteen years earlier. Later, she realizes the dead man worked in the Boston store where she ordered her wedding cake, which only strengthens the case against her.
The dead man worked as a fishing guide for Daphne. Her cook, Loretta, left a note saying she and Lenny were headed for Las Vegas. The police have found no sign of Loretta and suspect Eva also killed her. The mystery of the dead man quickly becomes more complicated. Meanwhile, Buck, the sheriff, warns Eva to stay away from the Scot, but refuses to explain why.
Great depictions of the stereotypical genteel South and mafia hit men. The quirky characters and broad humor enliven this Southern belle mystery, and suspense keeps the reader guessing. Overdone descriptions and old stereotypes mar an otherwise fun mystery. Kelly Lane is a pseudonym for Claire Talbot Eddins.