The first book in the Shady Hollow series, in which we are introduced to the village of Shady Hollow, a place where woodland creatures live together in harmony—until a curmudgeonly toad turns up dead and the local reporter has to solve the case.
Reporter Vera Vixen is a relative newcomer to Shady Hollow. The fox has a nose for news, so when she catches wind that the death might be a murder, she resolves to get to the bottom of the case, no matter where it leads. As she stirs up still waters, the fox exposes more than one mystery, and discovers that additional lives are in jeopardy.
Vera finds more to this town than she ever suspected. It seems someone in the Hollow will do anything to keep her from solving the murder, and soon it will take all of Vera’s cunning and quickness to crack the case.
Juneau Black is the pen name of authors Jocelyn Cole and Sharon Nagel. They share a love of excellent bookshops, fine cheeses, and good murders (in fictional form only). Though they are two separate people, if you ask either of them a question about their childhood, you are likely to get the same answer. This is a little unnerving for any number of reasons.
My thoughts: this was a delightfully quirky read, all the characters are animals but it reads like noir. Think Disney’s Zootopia crossed with Philip Marlowe with lashings of humour. Vera Vixen is a great protagonist, a sharp eyed reporter with a nose for a good story, she’s first on the scene and determined to investigate and find the killer. Especially as the tiny police department are a little slow on the uptake.
Enlisting her friend, Lenore the bookshop owning raven, as her sidekick, she sets about checking the town’s alibis, but since everyone seems to have been home alone, there’s not a lot to go on. But she’s tenacious and brave, putting herself at risk to get the scoop and solve the case.
I really enjoyed this clever, fun book and can’t wait to read the rest of the series.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.