Leave Tomorrow BehindLeave Tomorrow Behind

Judy Clemens

Poisoned Pen Press

ISBN-9781464202025

279 pages

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Stella Crown, a hardworking, jeans and t-shirt kind of gal is caught up in nothing but trouble through no fault of her own. She owns a dairy farm that is bleeding her bank accounts dry.  The bank is not going to invest any more capital in what they see is a sinking ship. She loves her farm and her life, and just needs enough cash to pay the insurance premium.

She reluctantly asks her fiancé, Nick for some cash to keep things going until the farm becomes more solvent. He quickly agrees, much to the chagrin of his bossy sister Miranda.

Miranda is sure Stella is out for Nick’s money. Why else would she want to marry a man – albeit a gorgeous hunk of a man – who has MS? Simple, Stella loves him and he loves her.

Miranda is dead-set on planning a huge wedding for Nick and Stella. Nick just wants the two women in his life to quit fighting. Stella has dug in the heels of her barn weary boots, refusing to plan an extravagant wedding when she just wants a quiet, simple wedding.

Between sparing with her future sister-in-law, Stella has to spend time at the Fair. Zack, a young friend, has one of Stella’s calves in the 4H show. Things are heating up at the fair. First, one of the entries is the calf of a daughter of a local music producer. They purchase an expensive calf, have someone else raise it and then enter it as a shoe-in to win the top prize away from much more deserving 4H members. Someone attempts to stop the family from winning. How far will they go?

Just when Stella thinks the fair can’t get any worse, she stumbles upon the dead body of a young singer who performed at the fair just hours before. Did her death have something to do with the calves? Was it wrapped up in the craziness of the Lovely Miss Pennsylvania Pageant, which the singer was supposed to judge the next day at the fair? Stella is knee-deep in more than manure but is determined to find out what happened. With a bit of luck she might help find the killer before someone else dies.

Leave Tomorrow Behind is Clemens’ sixth in her Stella Crown Mystery series. She explains enough background to get a new reader up to speed, but not too much. Her wit is evident with the sharp quips and comments that come to the page via Stella. By weaving several interesting storylines together including pageant moms, poisoned animals, planning a wedding she creates a homegrown quilt of quirky elements that work.

No spoilers, but I loved the end.

 

Copyright © 2014 Laura Hartman

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