Title: Death is on the Menu (Reckless Camper Cozy Mysteries #2)
Author: Libby Howard
Published on: 28 February 2022
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Sassy’s camping ground is gaining a lot of attention and customers. When the Mason brothers booked a cabin for a week, Sassy did not think it was a big deal, after all they are not only customers but returning customers. Sassy learns of the Mason brothers’ previous stay at the camping ground – seems like, they did a lot more than just hiking and fishing. They got into a fight with Sierra, the local café owner. There was also the issue of drunken behavior.
Sassy is asked not to cancel their reservation – but to keep an eye on things and then decide. The Mason brothers arrive with a bang – loud and rowdy. The bonfire event does not go as planned as one of the Mason brothers dances shirtless, completely drunk and paint smeared on his body. The next day, Sassy goes on a hike with her dog Elvis and find one of the Mason brothers lying in a pool of blood in the middle of a hiking track.
The story begins with Sassy in a joyous mood. Why wouldn’t she be? The cabins are almost fully booked, and so are the camping tents and RV stations. Money is steady at the moment but not enough to fix the hole in the roof (which happened a month ago when Sassy ventured into the attic.) Sassy’s mother helps her in billing and all the accounting work. When Sassy is told they have a returning customer, she feels happy that things are looking good.
But Lottie, Sassy’s neighbor tells her the returning customers created quite a scene the last time. They had picked up a fight with Sierra, the local café owner and Sierra threatened to kill them if they came to town again. Sassy speaks with Sierra and tells her the Mason brothers are returning and she could cancel their reservation if necessary. Sierra says no. After all, they are Sassy’s paying customers. But when the brothers arrive and Sierra comes over to take breakfast order, she meets Paul Mason and picks up a fight.
The bonfire event at the camping ground does not go as planned until Sassy intervenes. The Mason brothers are up with their drunken behavior. Paul dances shirtless in front of the bonfire and Sassy has to admonish him. The youngest of the Mason brothers, Rusty, is sensible and understanding. He makes sure his drunken brothers do not create more problems.
The next morning, Rusty arrives at the camp store to pick up breakfast. He tells Sassy he and his brothers are going on a hike. A while later, Sassy too goes on a hike with her bloodhound Elvis and ends up finding one of the Mason brothers lying dead in a pool of blood.
We have two mysteries here. One is regarding the Mason brothers and murder. The second concerns a young family consisting of a father, mother and their young daughter. In the second half of the story, Sassy learns all’s not well in the ‘happy’ family. Sassy is torn between finding Paul Mason’s killer and trying to avoid an escalating domestic situation.
Paul’s death is termed as ‘suspicious.’ Sassy learns he was drugged. The poor man was also on blood thinner medication and that explained the pool of blood around his body. (He hit his head.) When Sierra becomes the main suspect in Paul Mason’s murder, Sassy knows she has to prove her friend’s innocence – especially after she hears the reason for a tiff between Sierra and the Mason brothers last year.
As much as the two mysteries kept me guessing for more, I cannot say I liked the way things ended. There was a lot of suspense built up throughout the story and the identity of the killer and their reason for murder did not do justice. I kept high expectations from this book and somehow I felt a little let down as the story ended.
Having said that, I loved the character development – I would love to see a dash of romance (Jake and Sassy), the setting and the storytelling. I am looking forward to reading what’s next for Sassy. I think it is pretty obvious she’s going to find another dead body and end up solving the crime… Amateur sleuthing does seem like a cakewalk for our dear Sassy. 😀