Digging Up Murder by Penny Brooke

Title: Digging Up Murder (Garden Cove Library Cozy Mystery #1)

Author: Penny Brooke

Published on: 10 July 2022

Genre: Cozy Mystery

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Rating: 3 out of 5.

Digging Up Murder is the first book in Penny Brooke’s Garden Cove Library Cozy Mystery series.

Elly Hockette is driving back to Garden Cove – the town where she spent most of her childhood and teenage years. She will be helping her librarian grandmother with last minute preparations for the historic library’s Halloween celebrations.

A week after settling in and finding a rented place to move in, she helps her grandmother in cleaning up the garden. She finds something obstructing the rake. When she picks it up, she realizes it is a severed human hand!

Sheriff Alburn arrives at the scene and asks if the two ladies could stay elsewhere overnight as Grams’ house is now a crime scene. Elly and her Grams move to Elly’s new place. But after a couple of hours, Sheriff Alburn arrives there and arrests Grams for murder. Elly knows her grandmother is innocent. But to prove this, she must find the real killer.

Digging Up Murder can be considered as a novella as it is just 120 pages long. An okay start to a new cozy mystery series. I liked the setting and the storytelling was okay too. Having said that, I wish we had detailed character introductions – their backgrounds especially.


Elly is moving to Garden Cove indefinitely. She knows she has to find another job and start afresh. Later in the story, we are told that Elly’s ex emptied her bank accounts and absconded. As to what Elly did prior to moving to Garden Cove, I am not very sure. But there is a mention in the latter half of the book about Elly being a librarian.

When a severed human hand is found in Grams’ garden and Grams is arrested, there is a rumor about the Mob. I really did not understand why most of the towns people were insisting a Mob angle – which was based on another rumor that one of the new resident’s ex-husband was associated with the Atlanta City Mob.

The local judge isn’t available on weekends or during Halloween festival. He wants the rule breakers to simmer in jail if caught during Halloween or weekends. Wow! The local Sheriff is not friendly either – at least not in the first half. But when someone goes missing and Elly might know where they are, he lets her accompany him – which finally leads to the duo coming face-to-face with the killer.

Then we have the angle of a missing person – a woman arriving in Garden Cove in search of her boyfriend. Elly wonders if it’s this missing person’s hand that was found in her Grams’ garden. Though I really liked this inclusion in the story, I did not like Elly coming to conclusions without any concrete evidence.

This story had a lot of potential. The plot was good and so was the mystery. I cannot say the same about plot to story development or character introduction. Things ended abruptly at times and conclusions were made without any proper consideration. Overall, this was an okay read. I keep hearing about this author and I was curious to try one of her latest books. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series. Hope to like it better than this one.

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