Barb, Faye, and Retta learn a strong lesson in the value of working together as sisters in Maggie Pill’s Murder in the Boonies when the tenants who had lived on the family farm suddenly depart, leaving all their belongings. When Barb and Faye go to the farm to try to clean things up so it will be ready for the new tenants, they discover the three daughters of the family hiding in the cabin on the property. Eleven year-old Iris, nine-year-old Pansy, and six-year-old Daisy have no idea what happened to their mother, who disappeared a month earlier. In addition, they are reticent about her boyfriend, who had agreed to let them continue living on the farm in exchange for their doing all the work of the household before disappearing as well. They arrange for the girls to stay temporarily with Retta while trying to find the girls’ mother.
As the ladies who run the Smart Detective Agency, the sisters try to look into the background of Ben and Rose, discovering that he has some scary, extremely misogynistic friends. They hold women responsible for all the ills of the world, with “undisputed proof” that the United States fell apart because it gave women the right to vote. Helping the girls forces the sisters to pull together even more than they learned to do in the prior two books. T
In Murder in the Boonies, like in the previous two books, Barb, Faye, and Retta take turns narrating each chapter, showing the characteristics of each particular sister in a fun, unique way. This creative form of writing gives insight into each sister and her own personality.
All three books in this series use the lens of a mystery to focus on the empowerment of women and the need for women, sisters in particular, to join forces to complement each other’s strengths and build each other up. This book especially delivers a powerful message of building women up and the need for strong women to serve as role models for girls in order to invest in the women of the future.
The audio version of this book is really enjoyable, with Anne Jacques reading Barbara’s chapters, Laura Bednarski reading Faye’s chapters, and Judy Blue reading Retta’s chapters. Each woman does a fantastic job of embodying the role that she plays. I highly recommend that you listen to the book if possible because this is one series where the narration especially brings the book to life.
Of the three Sleuth Sisters books available in audio format, each becomes better than the previous. I love the way that Pill uses very interesting mystery plots to write strong messages that empower. Most cozy mysteries serve to entertain, but these books, while certainly entertaining the reader, inspire as well. I give this book five stars.
To purchase Murder in the Boonies for yourself, click here on Amazon.