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Mining for Murder: Cozy Book Review

Mining For Murder: A Happy Camper Mystery

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Mining for Murder

Mining for Murder

Zo Jones is enjoying the sunny season at her Happy Camper gift shop in Spirit Canyon, South Dakota—when a murder reminds her all that glitters isn’t gold . . .

The South Dakota Gold Rush might be long over, but Zo Jones feels like she’s hit the mother lode when she and her friends browse an estate sale, where a rare old book about the history of Spirit Canyon is causing quite a commotion. In addition to local stories and secrets, the book may even contain the location of a famous stash of gold—a treasure worth killing for.

Zo’s friend Maynard Cline wins the bid on the book, to the chagrin of many interested parties, including the historical society and college history department. But when Zo and Hattie head to Maynard’s mansion to borrow the book for a library event, the only thing they find is Maynard—at the bottom of the mountain. The valuable book is gone. Zo knows this must be murder because there’s no way a germophobe like Maynard would have voluntarily dived into a pile of dirt. Now she’ll have to dig into a new case, and go prospecting for a perpetrator . . .

To purchase Mining for Murder, click any of the following links: Amazon – B&N – Apple – Google Books – Kobo 

Mining for Murder (A Happy Camper Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – South Dakota
Lyrical Press (April 5, 2022)
Print length ‏ : ‎ 275 pages
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0992TPJ24

Read more reviews by clicking the link here.

My Thoughts on Mining For Murder

Though this is book three in the series, it can easily be read as a standalone.

Always a fan of Mary Angela’s work, Mining for Murder is my favorite to date.

For me, cozy mysteries work best when I want to visit the location, hang out with the protagonist, and don’t have the mystery solved before the sleuth puts the clues together. Angela ticks all those boxes, and gets bonus points for adding in a little romance.

Spirit Canyon is a place I’d love to experience in the real world. With the natural beauty of South Dakota as a backdrop to a quirky community filled with dynamic characters, I’m ready to pack my bags and head to town on vacation, and maybe a little searching for gold or solving a murder or two.

Zo Jones runs the Happy Camper, a gift store with a delightfully eccentric employee named Harley and a big orange cat named George. Filled with fun local crafts and seasonal goodies, it’s the kind of place I’d love to spend time browsing. Zo herself is a delight. Snarky enough to make me laugh out loud and smart enough to legitimately solve the crimes before the local authorities get the chance.

Lastly there is Max Harrington, the kind and cute, local ranger. Part of what I love about their dynamic, is that Zo doesn’t get lost in the fantasy of romance. She’s a contemporary woman who doesn’t have to have a man in her life — even though she likes the idea of a partner. As she says to her friend Jules, “‘I’ve been falling for Max for six months. That’s no secret. It’s the longest I’ve ever dated someone, so maybe I shouldn’t complain, but he’s starting to test my patience.'”

It’s Zo’s open honesty with a touch of sarcasm that makes me want to sit in the corner of the local bar with her and share a beer.

That’s all to say, the entire series is a delight, and the third book is the best mystery yet.

Attending an estate sale at a fancy house on Mountain View Road, Zo and a few allies excitedly watch a rare, hand-bound memoir written by one of Spirit Canyon’s original settlers go for a remarkable sixteen thousand dollars at auction to the wealthy Maynard Cline. It doesn’t take long before the proper ownership of the manuscript becomes a sore spot of contention, as various individuals claim the book.

Zo can’t help but wonder if the pages contain something even more valuable than a first-hand account of the local history. When she and head librarian Hattie head over to Maynard’s fancy mansion to borrow the book for an event at the library, they discover that whatever is in the book might be valuable enough to kill for.

Finding Maynard’s dead body sends Zo on another hunt for a killer, entwined with several great subplots to round out the investigation. Angela evolves the ongoing romance between Zo and Max, continues Zo’s search for her family history, and shows us the complicated lives of her closest friends, including George, my favorite literary Maine Coon.

With a gold mine of twists to keep a reader guessing, Mining for Murder is an excellent addition to a dynamite series. So get out your lantern, because you’ll be up all night reading Mary Angela’s latest.

Don’t miss my reviews of the first two books in the series, Open for Murder and Midnight Spells Murder

Mary Angela, Author of Mining for Murder

Mining for Murder
Julie Prairie Photography

Mary Angela is the author of the Happy Camper cozy mystery series, the Professor Prather academic mystery series, and several short stories.

When Mary isn’t penning heartwarming whodunits, she’s teaching, reading, traveling, or spending time with her family.

She lives in South Dakota with her husband, daughters, and spoiled pets. You can find out more about her loves, including her writing, at

To learn more about Mary, click on her name, photo, or any of the following links: Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads & Instagram

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Mining for Murder

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Elena Taylor

Elena Taylor is the author of All We Buried, available now in print, e-book, and audio book format at all your favorite bookstores and on-line retailers.

For more information on All We Buriedclick on the link here to visit the home page.

Silver Falchion Award Finalist, Best Investigator 2020

Foreword INDIE Award Finalist, Best Mystery 2020

Elena Hartwell

Author and developmental editor.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Mary Angela

    I love this review so much, Elena! Thank you for reading and reviewing.

    1. Elena Hartwell

      Thank you! It was a delight to review. I know readers are going to love it too.

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