Book Review: A Nose for Hanky Panky by Sharon Love Cook

A Nose for Hanky Panky
Sharon Love Cook
Mainly Murder Press, LLC, 2010
ISBN 978-0-9825899-8-4
Trade Paperback

Rose McNichols is a reporter for a small town New England newspaper, the Granite Cove Gazette.  A lot of her job is routine, sometimes even tedious.  Covering the murder of Vivian Klinger is not routine or tedious.  It is big news in Granite Cove.  Vivian Klinger knew many of the town’s secrets; she was the local therapist.  She came from money and a good family.  She was very pretty.  So who killed her and left her in her office wearing only her slip?  As Cook says, “The only missing ingredient was a Kennedy.”

There were plenty of people in town with motive.  Some people didn’t want the development going in.  Was she having an affair with the attorney next door?  Did his wife think so?  Was it the local drunk, who used to be the high school football star?  Or somebody else altogether?

Rose has an ally in Cal Devine, a drop-dead gorgeous local police officer who may or may not be putting the moves on Rose.  Problem?  Cal is very married.  Her editor, on the other hand, is not an ally.  She really doesn’t want to cover anything controversial, like the Mayor and his deals with his buddies.  Or this murder.  She keeps giving Rose other stories to cover, stories that are not in any way likely to upset anyone.  Rose does a lot of digging on her own.

Cook has done a lot of work on this book and it shows.  Her characters are people we might know.  The setting is lovely, although “Granite Cove” sounds a bit too much like “Cabot Cove” for my personal taste.  The mystery and solution work, so she passes the plotting test.  This is not a “can’t put it down” absolutely wonderful mystery.  They can’t all be.  If you are looking for a pleasant read, “Hanky Panky” will probably suit you just fine.

According to the website, if you buy on-line directly from them, they are cheaper than Amazon is.  It’s a small press; support them if you can.

Reviewed by P.J. Coldren, June 2011.