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Bad Neighbors: 05/30/18
Bad Neighbors by Maia Chance is the second of the Agnes and Effie mysteries. The remodel of the inn has gotten the green light and while progress is slow it is coming along. Agnes finds out, though, that her aunt's inn will get its first real test when a fall colors tour bus breaks down and the passengers need somewhere to stay. While most of the passengers can go to established inns, there just aren't enough rooms available, so Effie's inn has to help out.
Meanwhile, one of the mechanics in this small town is found murdered. It looks like Otis, Agnes's new boyfriend, is the prime suspect. With a tag along crew of elderly tourists, Agnes sets out to prove his innocence.
Agnes and Effie are such an odd couple: the jaded twenty or thirty something, and the exuberant, live life to the fullest aunt. Either one by themselves would be a archetypal cozy mystery sleuth but I can't recall a pairing of these two in any other series I've read, especially when there is a familial bond, rather than a romantic one.
Effie, especially is a throwback to a kind of character I haven't seen in other recent series. She reminds me of Endora from Bewitched, minus the magic of course. She's that aunt or mother figure that everyone should have but no one necessarily wants. She's the one who has tried everything at least once and is still finding new things to try.
Agnes, meanwhile, is the millennial down on her luck and forced to move home. She's a breath of fresh air to the flood of Baby Boomer generation of protagonists that have flooded the mystery series market in recent decades.
Admittedly the mystery is still a little rough around the edges but the clues and the pacing are different and fresh. I like where this series is going and hope to be able to follow it for a bunch more books to see how it grows and evolves.