Scrapbook of Secrets by Mollie Cox Bryan is the first book in the new “Cumberland Creek” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, February 2012

Having traded in her career as a successful investigative journalist for the life of a stay-at-home mom in picturesque Cumberland Creek, Virginia, Annie can’t help but feel that something’s missing. But she finds solace in a local “crop circle” of scrapbookers united by chore-shy husbands, demanding children, and occasional fantasies of their former single lives. And when the quiet idyll of their small town is shattered by a young mother’s suicide, they band together to find out what went wrong.

Annie resurrects her reporting skills and discovers that Maggie Rae was a closet scrapbooker who left behind more than a few secrets—and perhaps a few enemies. As they sift through Maggie Rae’s mysteriously discarded scrapbooks, Annie and her “crop” sisters begin to suspect that her suicide may have been murder. It seems that something sinister is lurking beneath the town’s beguilingly calm façade—like a killer with unfinished business.

Comfortable with a steady-pace is how I would describe this charming tale of intrigue. Annie’s investigative instincts rise when she suspects that her neighbor’s suicide may in fact be a murder. The murder banded the friends together to form a cohesive group that uncovered the clues to reveal a killer. This was a great story with a nicely-crafted plot that I could not put down with the many twists and turns in this well-developed mystery, that kept me guessing until the end. The spunkiness of the characters, the small town-atmosphere and the sense of a friendly community added to my reading pleasure. This is a great start to what I hope will be a long run with the women of Cumberland Creek in this enjoyably inviting series.

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