Sunday, October 27, 2013

Book Review - Missing Mabel by Nancy Mehl

For a while I had been kind of missing out on reading.  Life seemed to be screaming by me with no time for anything I simply enjoy.  Because of this I am refocusing on one of the things that truly brings me joy...reading.  Reading provides an escape that books simply do not offer me.  I love becoming completely submerged in a story.

Last week I began to read "Missing Mabel" by Nancy Mehl.  This book was lent to me by a fellow book lover, because she knows how much I enjoy Cozy Mysteries.

Title:  Missing Mabel
Publisher:  Barbour Publishing

About the Author (from Goodreads):  
Nancy Mehl lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband, Norman, and her very active puggle, Watson. First published in 2001, she has now authored nine books, including an omnibus mystery collection, Cozy in Kansas, which contains three of her previously published Ivy Towers mysteries. Book three in the series, For Whom the Wedding Bell Tolls, won the American Christian Fiction Writers Mystery Book of the Year award. Nancys main writing interests lie in mystery although her new Harmony Series leans more toward the romantic suspense genre. Nancy runs a HUD program for the city of Wichita and is president of a volunteer organization, Wichita Homebound Outreach. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and Kansas Authors Club. You can find out more about Nancy by visiting her Web site at:

About the Book (From Goodreads):
Watch the tangled mess a Kansas hairdresser gets herself into when she reports to the funeral home that the body she is to work on is not the same as in her reference photo. Is she being punished when the director accuses her of stealing a diamond ring? Will Hilde Higgins’s former boyfriend help her unravel the issue or only bring more trouble to her life?

My Review:
"Missing Mabel" is the first in the "Hometown Mysteries" and "Curl Up and Dye Mysteries" by Barbour Books.  I was immediately drawn to the story because of my appreciation for the author as well as the publisher.  Both have proven themselves when it comes to a good cozy mystery.

Hilde is the perfect heroine for a cozy.  She is flawed but has just enough going for her to not appear to be a gigantic loser.  Hilde is following a personal passion and ministry which involves being a hair stylist to the deceased.  Having an aunt who actually did this for a time being early on in her own career as a hair stylist caused me to be further drawn in, yet also freaked out.  As dear as Hilde explains it, I could still not do it.  

The community involved in the story is remarkable.  I immediately enjoyed the individuals in Hilde's circle from her landlady, Mrs. Hudson and other tenants in the boarding house to her neighbor across the way named Gabe.  They each have their own quirks and oddities which adds a sweet interest into the background and foreground of Hilde's story.  

Hilde herself is a bit of an eccentric and of course what more could you expect from a woman who makes a living doing the hair of the dead.  She finds herself in several minor scrapes and of course the major scrape of realizing that her deceased client is not whom the funeral home believes she is.  Are they trying to pull one over on the family?  Is someone trying to pull one over on the funeral home?  Hilde is not aware of who is doing what, but her own conscience and professionalism require her to say something.  Her own love of mystery and the belief of doing what is right keeps her searching out the answers while also finding new questions along the way in her own life.

There is a faith-based component also to this mystery that I enjoyed.  Hilde is a Christian and because she is, her faith becomes an important aspect of the book.  Being a Christian, I can completely relate.  My faith is an important part of my life as well.  Hilde's faith is played out best in her love for others, and her love for her friends.  She doesn't hide it from her friends but they do know where she stands. 

Missing Mabel is the exact escape read I enjoy.  The characters are engaging, the heroine is someone I relate to and would hang out with, and it takes place in a town that surprisingly I'd want to visit.  Mehl makes Kansas sound like an absolute delight (what can I say, I love small towns).  I am delighted to know that I can enjoy another book in this mystery series "Blown Away."  I can't wait to get my hands on it. 

PS The main character, Hilde loves SPAM the food product.  Guess what?  So do I.  Well fried SPAM anyway.  There is a recipe in the book, I just might try it.  :)

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