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Books Review: Cozy Mysteries by Donna Campbell Smith

Time for another book review here. With the upcoming release of my short story collection, I have read zero books this month and listened to one audiobook! So, I’m going to write a review I’ve been wanting to write for some time: a review of two books that go together in a series, which I read in prior years, that were written by a North Carolina author. The books are In the Garden with the Pruning Shears and In the Library with the Dictionary.

(I read mostly NC authors’ books, to support them and #ReadLocal from the community… like supporting a small business.)

These two cozy mysteries by Donna Campbell Smith follow the sleuthing of hairdresser Olivia as she attempts to solve murders in a small coastal town. Olivia’s best friend (also her colleague) Gail serves as a sounding board for the clues and strange events that surround each death.

Meanwhile, the MC’s love interest fears for her safety — as trouble finds her! Mixed in with the informal, even covert investigating are bits and pieces of small town life and southern charm that are endearing whether you’re from here or not.

The novel to read first is In the Garden with the Pruning Shears and here is the review that I wrote after reading it:

Murder and intrigue in a southern setting. I like mysteries… Murder, She Wrote type low-gore and intrigue. This book has the mystery, strong female lead, and just enough danger and suspense to keep you going. I ended up reading it all in one night! Couldn’t put it down. The details of the small town setting were pleasant and familiar, adding details to my imaginings as I read.

The second cozy mystery is In the Library with the Dictionary, which I reviewed soon after its release:

Sweet, cozy mystery sequel with fun characters. A good sequel to “In the Garden with the Pruning Shears” that let me catch up on the characters and follow their latest hijinks.

Intriguing and fun, this book starts with a murder and leads on through some strange places. The female lead can’t be held back from investigating, or even walking her dog while there’s a killer …. Well, I don’t want to give anything away.

This book offers a cozy read, interesting characters, sweet moments, and a puzzling mystery. What more could a reader ask?

I recommend checking out both of this NC author’s cozy mysteries.

Oh, and watch for Donna’s new novel coming out in Spring 2021, My Neighbors from the Woods.


Note that in addition to reviews I write on this site, I review the books I read (and audiobooks I listen to), on Amazon and Goodreads. Reviews can be good for authors, especially when added to sites that relegate books with few reviews to deep within search results… that’s no way for a reader to find a good book!

One Comment

  1. I’ve read both of these, also, and I sure do hope there’ll be more!

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