Take the Honey and Run (A Bee Keeping Mystery: Book 1) by Jennie Marts

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Date of Publication: July 18th, 2023

Genre: Mystery, Cozy Mystery, Family, Contemporary

Series: A Bee Keeping Mystery

Take the Honey and Run—Book 1

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N

Goodreads Synopsis:

The town is all abuzz when a murder occurs in Jennie Marts’ debut cozy mystery, perfect for fans of Jenn McKinlay and Amanda Flower.

As a successful mystery author, Bailey Briggs writes about murder, but nothing prepares her for actually discovering the dead body of the founder of her hometown of Humble Hills, Colorado. Bailey grew up at Honeybuzz Mountain Ranch and was raised by her beekeeping grandmother, Blossom Briggs, aka Granny Bee, and her two eccentric sisters, Aster and Marigold—which is why she drops everything to come home and help Granny Bee after a bad fall.

A broken foot doesn’t stop her grandmother from ruling The Hive, her granny’s book club, or continuing to prepare and package her bee-inspired products. But when Bailey’s grandmother’s infamous “Honey I’m Home” hot spiced honey turns out to “bee” the murder weapon and her granny is now the prime suspect, Bailey has no choice but to use her fictional detective skills to help solve the murder and ‘smoke-out’ the real culprit.

With the help of Bailey’s witty bestie, a pair of meddling aunts, the feisty members of The Hive, and her computer-savvy daughter, this amateur sleuth is determined to solve the case. A malicious attack and an ominous threat reveal that someone wants Bailey to butt out of the investigation, but there’s no way she’s backing down. She must use her skills to uncover the truth and catch the clever culprit before her grandmother ends up bee-hind bars.

First Line:

The speedometer ticked up another notch, matching Bailey Brigg’s pulse as she and her daughter drove down the two-lane highway heading toward her hometown of Humble Hills, Colorado.

Take the Honey and Run by Jennie Marts

Famous mystery author Bailey and her daughter Daisy are going home to Humble Hills, Colorado, to care for her grandmother, Granny Bee. Granny Bee had broken her foot and needed help around the apiary and cattle ranch. Soon after arriving, Bailey witnesses her grandmother run off the town’s mayor, Werner Humble, and threaten to kill him. Wanting to smooth things over (and figure out what was happening), Bailey goes to Warner’s house and sees him lying dead, covered in her grandmother’s signature hot honey. When her grandmother is brought in for questioning, Bailey is determined to clear her name. But in doing so, Bailey uncovers decades of deceit and blackmail. Warner wasn’t the upstanding citizen that the town thought he was. With Sawyer, the sheriff and her long-lost love, investigation tightening, Bailey is on a different deadline: To clear her grandmother’s name. Who killed Warner and why? Is Granny Bee innocent?

I had initially been on the fence when I saw this book. But I kept seeing it popping up in emails and on NetGalley’s homepage. It was a sign for me to download. I am glad that I did because I really enjoyed this book!! I was laughing my butt off at some of the jokes and quips sprinkled throughout the book. It isn’t often that a mystery combines with humor and works.

Take the Honey and Run was a medium to fast-paced book set in Humble Hills, Colorado. The pacing for Take the Honey and Run was good, but it could have slowed down some. I kept having to go back and reread the passage because I felt I missed something.

Usually, I would fill this with doom and gloom about reading previous books. But I’ll skip that because this is book one, and there are no previous books. Take the Honey and Run is the first book in the A Bee Keeping Mystery series.

The main storyline in Take the Honey and Run is the mystery of Warner Humble’s death, Granny Bee’s involvement (or noninvolvement), and Bailey’s investigation. I will say that this is the first time a honey allergy has been used (to my knowledge) to kill off a character in a mystery. I found it unique. I was very puzzled by who killed Warner. When Bailey started investigating, 3-4 other suspects besides her grandmother appeared. It made sense to me (and it should have to Bailey, with her being a mystery writer) that her grandmother would be the number one suspect because of the threat she made against him in front of the sheriff. I wasn’t a fan that Bailey took it upon herself to interrogate suspects and then didn’t share information with the sheriff. That is a pet peeve of mine when reading mysteries. It drives me up the wall when the heroine gets info and sits on it. But, saying that, Bailey did get some good leads and several great reasons why Warner would have been murdered.

A bunch of more minor secondary storylines fed into the main one. The author did use most of these as red herrings. And these storylines also outlined what scumbag Warner was.

I liked Bailey. Her wanting to clear Granny Bee’s name came from a good place, and I know she thought that with her background in writing mysteries, she could maybe stay one step ahead of the killer. But, honestly, while she got some great leads, she could have been better at it. The scene where she broke into Warner’s house and got her foot stuck in the toilet was funny and proved my point. I also liked that she brought a PI friend into the investigation, and that friend has sparks with Evie, Bailey’s best friend. I also guessed at her secret (the one she kept alluding to). It wasn’t tough to figure that out.

The secondary characters made this book. The Hive, as they are called, were the best friends a woman could have. They flocked (or buzzed?) around Granny Bee when everything happened. I liked that they were willing to take down a grown man (oh, did that scene make me laugh) because they suspected he killed Warner. But they also didn’t let a man come between them. Instead, it made their relationships stronger. Daisy and Evie also should be mentioned. Daisy because she was an awesome kid, and I liked that the author had her get into mischief while Bailey was out investigating. Evie, because she was Bailey’s ride-or-die. She was willing to help Bailey do anything with the investigation, including breaking and entering.

The mystery angle was well written. This plot was very twisty, with red herrings and misdirections being thrown like confetti. It made the book much more interesting to read. The reasoning behind Warner’s killing was sad and a little funny at the same time. I had no idea who the killer was. So, when it was revealed, I was shocked. I kept shaking my head and going, “No way.

There was a hint of a love triangle between Mateo, Bailey, and Sawyer. It was enough to get me wondering. Will Bailey choose between her high school sweetheart or her best friend’s hot older brother?

Also, what intrigued me was why Sawyer disappeared. Bailey and Sawyer referenced it several times during the book. But it was when Evie and Bailey found the files, and Bailey gave Sawyer his file, the author answered that question. It wasn’t right what was done to him, and I am glad that the sheriff decided to go back. I do wonder what was in the Delgados and Granny Bees. The author revealed Bailey’s at the end, but nothing was said about it. It was very frustrating.

The end of Take the Honey and Run was exciting and sad. How will the missing files, what was in Granny Bee’s and Bailey’s files, and the want-to-be love triangle work out in the upcoming books? As I said, I didn’t see a twist about how the murderer was and why that person killed Warner. The author did leave the series open to book 2, though.

I recommend Take the Honey and Run to anyone over 16. There is mild language, moderate violence, and no sexual situations.

Many thanks to Crooked Lane Books, NetGalley, and Jennie Marts for allowing me to read and review Take the Honey and Run. All opinions expressed in this review are mine.

If you enjoyed reading this review of Take the Honey and Run, then you will enjoy reading these books:

Other books by Jennie Marts

3 thoughts on “Take the Honey and Run (A Bee Keeping Mystery: Book 1) by Jennie Marts

  1. This sounds like a cozy mystery I would love. I love friendships and quirky characters. I checked and my library has this one, so I will read and/or listen to it. I have also seen it around and was invited on the blog tour, but declined, maybe I should have participated.

    1. I hope you like it. It was such a good mystery and I loved that it was centered around bee keeping!!

      1. Bees are so important to keep food growing, I love that it deals with them.

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