When The Branson Beauty is scuttled on a cold and snowy afternoon, it seems like nothing more than a nuisance that can be blamed on a reckless captain. It takes hours to finally get the passengers safely back to shore and all seems well, except for likely fallout to the owner that is. But a final round of the ship reveals a shocking surprise: the dead body of a local coed.
Sheriff Hank Worth hasn't been in his position long and knows this case is a big one. The girl, a recent graduate of the local high school, was quite well known but only a few people even realized she was on board at all that day. In fact, her parents didn't even know the girl was in town! As the investigation proceeds, it becomes clear the folks of Branson have more than a few secrets up their sleeves. It's up to Hank to untangle those secrets and uncover the killer and motive behind the murder.
The Branson Beauty marks the first in the brand new Hank Worth series. It's also Claire Booth's fiction debut.
As mysteries go, The Branson Beauty is a lighter one bordering on cozy - it's not overly graphic but it does have a little more edge than a typical cozy, in my opinion. I love the setting. Touristy Branson may be familiar to many readers but it's not Worth's Branson. In fact, even though the newly minted sheriff has only been there a short time, the commercialization has already started to wear on the man.
The plotting could have been slightly tighter for me, but it's also possible that some of the kinks I noted (somewhat repetitive information and a few odd dialog pieces) were specific to the arc and have since been ironed out for the hardcover release.
That aside, The Branson Beauty is a quick and fun mystery read. Hank Worth is excellent leading man material for a series and I look forward to seeing what else Booth has in store for Branson County!
To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here. And for more on Claire Booth and her work you can visit her website here.
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