Stumped By Emily James – A Review
Steph reviews “Stumped” by Emily James. She describes the Maple Syrup Mysteries as “well thought out mysteries with three-dimensional, likeable characters.
Maple Syrup Mysteries
I recently purchased the newest installment in the Maple Syrup Mysteries series by Emily James.
If you’re interested in clean mysteries without the graphic violence, swearing, and explicit scenes, I highly recommend both the Maple Syrup Mysteries and the spinoff series the Cupcake Truck Mysteries.
Emily James is the pen name one of my author friend uses to write fiction. There is also another novelist with the same name who writes quite different books. If you’re searching for the books online, I would recommend using the series titles rather than her name.
This is one of the drawbacks of using a pseudonym, but it can also happen with your given name. I use a form of my name, Stephanie Elizabeth Nickel, because that’s just too long. Instead, I go by Steph Beth Nickel.
Some of you may be wondering why I’m talking about pen names. In fact, some of you may question whether it’s ethical and honest. I wanted to mention a couple of reasons why an author might choose to use a pseudonym, or pen name, before I dive into my review of Stumped.
If an author writes in a number of genres and / or writes both fiction and nonfiction, using different names helps readers know what to expect if their favourite author’s name is on the cover of a book. Plus, it helps with what they call “Also Boughts” on your Amazon page.
Not everyone is like me, wanting Amazon to suggest mysteries, romance, and young adult—all in what has been deemed the “clean” category, without the swearing and graphic content I mentioned before—as well as fantasy and nonfiction on a wide variety of topics. My bookshelves would confuse many readers I’m sure.
These are just a couple of reasons authors who write several different types of books may want to use one or more pen names.
And now to my review …
Stumped is the most recent book in the Maple Syrup Mysteries. And while you can read it without having read earlier installments, the continuing story makes far more sense if you begin with the first book, A Sticky Inheritance.
As is the case with many mystery shows on television, each story has a single crime that the characters solve, but there are often developing situations and relationships that can prove a little confusing without previous knowledge.
The main character in the Maple Syrup Mysteries is Nicole Fitzhenry-Dawes. Nicole’s parents are well-known defense lawyers in a big city. They were hoping their daughter would follow in their footsteps. And while Nicole is, indeed, a lawyer, she has chosen to practice law differently.
Nicole’s uncle left her Sugarwood, a maple syrup farm, and after she solves his murder, she decides to remain in the much small community, trust the running of the business to trusted friends, and go into partnership with a local lawyer.
Nicole only takes clients who are innocent—or those she believes are innocent—and seeks to get justice for them, all the while solving the cases.
A Man Covered in Blood
In Stumped, a man shows up at her office covered in blood, claiming he has no idea whose blood it is or how it got all over his hands and clothes.
As it turns out, his wife turns up dead. While they had been living apart for years, no one thinks he could be responsible for her death—no one except a witness that may be lying about the couple’s relationship and, of course, the police, believing they’ve arrested the murderer.
Nicole’s husband is the local M. E. and gives his wife reason to believe her client has been framed. But as “a very pregnant” Nicole investigates, she begins to question his innocence. Has she been duped again?
When Nicole goes to visit the victim’s neighbour and best friend, she ends up at the wrong house. The woman who lives there doesn’t sound surprised at what happened—nor does she sound distraught either.
Who is the Killer?
The victim’s friend can’t imagine that the woman’s husband killed her, but she does admit that her friend had become secretive and distant.
No one seems to know what’s really going on—no one that is except the killer and perhaps, the witness who is covering for him.
So, who’s lying? And why?
Well, even if I knew, I wouldn’t spoil it for you.
If you like well thought out mysteries with three-dimensional, likeable characters, I highly recommend Stumped and the other books in the Maple Syrup Mystery series.
Stephanie is a freelance writer and a contributor to our Christian internet radio station, HopeStreamRadio.
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Images courtesy of:
Woman on a stump – Free-Photos