Rating: 4/5 stars
Star City is known for its slopes and its powder. But nestled in the valley of this ski resort town is a side street full of shops that specialize in the simple charms of earlier eras. One of those shops is the Rescued Word, where Chester Henry and his adult granddaughter Clare lovingly repair old typewriters and restore old books. Who ever thought their quaint store would hold the key to some modern-day trouble?
When a stranger to town demands they turn over an antique Underwood typewriter they’re repairing for a customer, Clare fears she may need to be rescued. A call to the police scares the man off, but later Clare finds his dead body in the back alley. What about a dusty old typewriter could possibly be worth killing for?
My honest review:
To Helvetica and Back (Book #1 of A Dangerous Type Mystery series) by Paige Shelton is the perfect example of a great cozy mystery. I loved the rich setting of Star City, Utah. The attention to detail throughout the book makes you feel like you’ve seen this quaint town firsthand. There were no small town cliches, and each location or building visited felt genuine. Having a strong setting is important to me in a cozy mystery.
To be classified a cozy mystery a book shouldn’t have gore or detailed brutal violence, explicit sexual scenes, or be too shocking in general. With these stipulations many books fall flat at engaging the reader. This is not the case with this book. Each character is unique with a clear voice and personality. I especially loved Clare. Her spunky attitude and urge to know more about everything was felt through the entire novel. Her slowly budding relationship with Seth was the perfect mix of flirty and sweet with a side of speculation. I can’t wait to see how their relationship evolves in future books in the series.
Another element that helped make this book stand out as a great cozy mystery is involving different jobs and hobbies in the novel. Clare works at The Rescued Word repairing old typewriters with her grandfather. Her best friend is a local police officer. Seth, the town newbie, is a geologist studying the old mines in the area. There is a motorcycle gang in town relocating goats. Paige Shelton did a great job of weaving the different lifestyles and backgrounds of each character into the story without making it seem forced or awkward. I think it takes great skill to make rocks interesting!
Overall, I think this book is a great start to a new mystery series. I am very critical of cozies since so much can fall flat without the shock and awe value. The book is fast paced and keeps you guessing until the end. The ending was perfectly timed with no messy bits left unfinished.
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