by M. V. Byrne
Review by Julie S.
Anyone named Isabel Puddles was sure to have a quirky life, quirky friends, and a quirky mystery.
Isabel Puddles quickly lets us into her life with vivid descriptions of the community, her friends, and the little details “for twenty years, she never let on that she didn’t like scrambled eggs.” It’s these conversational tidbits which kept me reading, and then the author introduces us to an unusual murder discovered when Isabel is performing what might seem a scary task to most of us, styling a dead person’s hair and makeup for their viewing and funeral.
Since I actually know people who do this, I was delighted to find this in a mystery because the author perfectly describes the feelings of a person performing this task.
Byrne surrounds the main characters with friends and enemies who move the plot along fast but not too fast, making it easy to follow and giving me the feeling I was there, in the community living it with characters. I found myself holding my breath at times when the final moments were revealed.
This mystery has good characters, an interesting plot, and also some feel-good moments that give a lesson in life to all of us. I give this five stars and I can’t wait for more in this series.
Veteran television writer M.V. Byrne debuts with his first Mitten State Mystery featuring Isabel Puddles, a widowed mother of two grown children, who lives in a charming hamlet along Lake Michigan called Gull Harbor, the place she has called home all her life. In the summertime, Isabel shares her hometown with tourists and rich summer residents who flock to Gull Harbor and surrounding Kentwater County for its beautiful freshwater beaches, picturesque farmland, and magnificent old growth forests. But Isabel doesn’t mind sharing her little slice of lakeside paradise… much.
The only thing Isabel Puddles loves as much as her quirky hometown and its cast of eccentric characters is entertaining her family and friends with her culinary magic, taking long walks through the woods or along the beach with her beloved Jack Russell terrier, Jackpot, and cozying up in her favorite overstuffed chair with a cup of tea and a good murder mystery.
But she soon learns that real detective work isn’t like the Agatha Christie mysteries she’s so fond of, when she gets tangled up with some dangerous characters who don’t like Isabel Puddles poking around in their business…
M.V. Byrne was born in Lansing, Michigan while his parents attended Michigan State University. Although he grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, when it was time to choose a college, he returned to his home state, where he too attended Michigan State. Like the heroine of his new Mitten State Mystery Series, M.V.’s family has had a summer home along the shores of Lake Michigan for nearly 100 years… Despite a busy career, he returns to Michigan every summer to spend time with family and friends at “the cottage” his great-grandfather built.
M.V. Byrne has had a long career in television as a writer and producer, getting his start in New York City as a Page at NBC working on shows that included; The David Letterman Show and Saturday Night Live. After moving to Los Angeles, he went on to write for Mysteries & Scandals at E! Entertainment, Behind the Music at Vh1, and The Tyra Banks Show. Over the course of his career he has also written and produced shows for Netflix, History Channel, Discovery, Bravo, Lifetime, the Food Network, and the Travel Channel. He later returned to New York City where he was a writer at CNN, and later for ABC’s Good Morning America.
M.V. Byrne currently lives in Los Angeles, where he continues to work mostly as a writer/producer in unscripted television, although most recently he is writing a scripted series for the INSP network called The Wild West Chronicles.