Sunday, September 12, 2010

Just. Buzz. Off.

Buzz Off! according to the Online Slang Dictionary means:

To go away. Origin: from onomatopoeia "buzz", the sound an insect makes, implying that the person addressed is annoying and should leave.

I used to use that phrase all the time, in the 1980s or so when it was popular. It has a nice ring to it. Short, sweet.

Imagine my delight when I found a new author named Hannah Reed, who was in the process of writing and publishing a new mystery called Buzz Off: a Queen Bee Mystery.

I was able to get past my mixed feelings about bees (love them for my plants, dodge them for the possibility of being stung).

Hannah is full of sass, style, and has more wise things to say on any given day than most of us ever think of.

Her book is set in the small town of Moraine, Wisconsin. Hello, neighbor! Story Fischer runs a wonderful store in a refurbished church. It has basic groceries items and stock from local orchards and farms, Wisconsin wines and cheese, and honey, that wonderful bit of gold. Everyone stops in at Storey's store.

As a hobby, Storey is learning beekeeping from her friend Manny Chapman. When the police pull up during her National Honey Month open house, she is shocked to find they want her to come to Manny's farm to help them. Manny has been found covered in bees. Someone needs to get the bees off of him so that he can be examined. Storey is that someone.

Since the bee blower is suspiciously missing, Storey uses a fan to remove them from Manny. Once he is pronounced dead, she immediately has to defend the bees and their hives. Locals want them destroyed. Bees leave their stingers in a person then die, reasons Storey. Yellow jackets do not and could sting over and over. It had to be yellow jackets.

How to prove this before the hives are destroyed, or sold to a mysterious beekeeper nobody ever heard of but who has suddenly appeared? The hives Storey keeps in her backyard are soon under siege from fearful neighbors. The journal Manny meticulously kept on his bees is missing.

More deaths occur and only Storey seems to make the connections to Manny's death. This is a well thought out mystery. I considered that just about everyone but the actual killer could be guilty.

I loved the town and its characters. Although Storey is trying to get over her sleazy ex-husband, he's her neighbor. Her high school sweetheart is buzzing around, as is the high school bully who might have a crush on her.

A rumor mongering neighbor with a telescope keeps an eye on everyone. Nobody likes a gossiping snoop, but Pity-Party Patti shines, seemingly believing most of what she makes up herself.

Storey's disapproving mom is always threatening to come and show Storey how to run the store and her life the Right Way. Good thing Storey's grandma is around to hip-check mom out of the way.

The local LIBRARY figures nicely into the plot. Dang those people sending out wierd messages from library Internet computers!

Recipes are at the back of the book making this one sweet read.

Visit Hannah Reed's Queen Bee Mystery Page
to learn more about bees, honey, and this great new series.

Find Hannah on Facebook

Hannah's alter ego is Deb Baker. Well, maybe Hannah is the alter ego since Deb is the real person and Hannah is a cute lil bee, as far as we can tell.

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