Yes, I admit it. From time to time I read cozies. And what's more, smart ass, the one's I read I enjoy.
I think this is probably the result of being weaned, as a mystery reader, on Sherlock Holmes and Nero Wolfe. I have an appreciation for the alternate universe nature of enjoyable worlds I can visit again and again.
Barbara Allan (a/k/a Barbara and Max Allan Collins) has created a world that lies on the banks of the Mississippi and is populated by folks who are every bit as colorful as the people who serve Master Nero. In other words, they're fun. And you hope to see them again, especially heroine Brandy Borne and her eccentric mother Vivian. Their relationship, funny and wan and occasionally touching, is the centerpiece of the story.
A crooked antiques dealer has cheated Vivian out of her heirlooms. Brandy, just returned to the small town of Serenity, joins her mother in trying to get them back. But soon enough there's a problem. The antiques dealer is found dead and guess who is the leading suspect?
As the story plays out, Brandy presents her small town with affection and just the right amount of rueful disdain, giving us the perfect backdrop for her wry sly tale.