The second book in the Yellow Rose Mysteries series, published January 2005.
With big dreams, a big heart and a really big bank account, spunky Texas heiress Abby Rose thinks she’s finally found her true calling as an adoption PI in Houston. But when marriage meets murder at the altar, her next case proves to be anything but a dream come true …
A wedding to die for
As a private investigator, Abby is so green she could hide in a cabbage patch – but she’s got enough gumption to take a job from a bride-to-be who wants to find her birthmother before walking down the aisle. Unfortunately, Abby’s search comes up short, leaving the bride brokenhearted and Abby wondering if she’s in the right line of work. Then the wedding reception ends early when the bride’s adoptive father dies after getting knocked on the noggin by a crystal vase. Eager to make things right for the bride and her oddball clan - and prove herself a proper PI – Abby decides to hunt for the mystery mother while trying to catch a matrimonial murderer.
Since the previous book, Abby has moved out of the mansion her father left them, and into a small house. She has also started her own PI firm, under the eyes of a more experienced PI, kind of an apprentice thing. Jeff is her boyfriend, and even has his own key to the house. Kate is living together with her fiancée, Terry, and has started her own psychologist firm.
Abby is still mad at her aunt for lying all those years, and blackmailing her father. But Aunt Caroline is really trying to make amends. So on the personal plane, everything is going fine with Abby.
If only on the professional part everything went so well. All the leads she has been following to locate Megan’s mother are a death end. And the bad part is, she cannot ask questions from Megan’s adoptive parents, as she wants to keep it a secret to them, out of fear of hurting their feelings.
Megan even asks Abby to participate in her wedding, as the person who would do the guestbook cannot make it, as she had her baby a month early. That means she also has to be at the wedding reception. And what a joy that was. Megan has one wacky family. The first man brought a little tv with him, so he could watch the game during dinner. Her uncle and father really dislike each other. Her two cousins are really strange, Courtney is on drugs, and Roxanne is mad because she just discovered her father and uncle have conspired to send her boyfriend, a violinist, to Boston, to end her relationship.
And then, the next day, the wedding. Abby sees some woman slip into church late, without having signed the guestbook. So she needs to corral that woman and make her. But she doesn’t get the chance to do that. When she and Kate arrive at the house for the wedding reception, Sylvia, the adoptive mother of the bride, sets them to work filling little nets with birdseeds. Luckily, the caterers keep them supplied with food and drink, and the job progresses nicely. At last, Abby is free to mingle a little, and then she and Kate will go home.
Unfortunately, a crash and a scream interrupt those plans. And when Abby arrives on scene, she finds Megan cuddling the lifeless body of her father in her arms. Someone has just murdered him! Holt, the best man, and Travis, the groom, take charge in herding all the guests out of the room, after they called 911. Sylvia just fainted on the doorstep, and is of no help. Abby calls her boyfriend Jeff, who is after all a Homicide Detective, but Galveston is not his jurisdiction. But he will come down anyway the be with her.
Unlucky for Abby, as the policewoman in charge is an old ex girlfriend of Jeff, and takes an instant dislike to her, even going so far as treating her as a suspect. And when Jeff refuses to tell Abby anything he learned from Quinn, she is really unhappy with him.
Even with her father murdered, Megan still wants Abby to find her real mother. Her boss, Angel, gives her some valuable advice. The copy of Megan’s birth certificate is very bad, so they set out for a new one. Which takes a lot of time, as the data Megan had, was false. She was not born in Kingston, just across the bay, but in Kingston, Jamaica! So Abby decides on a little business trip, as she doesn’t get any progress made on the phone. The Jamaicans are all very friendly and willing to help her, but don’t know how. So with the help of a friendly cab driver, Abby discovers lots of information.
Coming back to the States, lots of people want to talk to Abby, including the alcoholic uncle. But before Abby can talk to him, he is murdered as well! And Abby is severely injured when she almost interrupts the murder. Unlucky, she didn’t see the person, only a black trouserpipe.
The murder suspects are lining up, but can Abby find out who did it, before she is next?
Another great story by Leann Sweeney. I love this series even more than the Cat in Trouble mysteries she writes. Which is unfortunate for me, as this lovely series is on hold for the moment. So even though I want to rush with the next three books in the series, I want to be economic with them, and save them for when I really need a book like this one.
I really like the characters Leann Sweeney creates. You can relate to them, and like them. Abby especially of course. She really cares about Megan, and what she finds out, and how it will affect her, especially when she is going through that much already. It is not pretty what has happened all those years ago, and again the adoption angle is great. But Abby does much more than what a PI is supposed to do, even more than you should be asking your best friend. But she just can’t say no. (Only to her Aunt can she say no). Again, the book is filled with action, with humor and with quaint Texan sayings. I love them!
Now for the mystery part: I did guess some things, which were pretty obvious. But the plot itself, and the real murderer, I never ever did see that one coming! Well done Leann. I love to be surprised by an author. If you like love scenes in a book, this one only has the one sentence ones ;).