Jessie Schroeder is a successful author of a children’s book series, and she becomes understandably upset when someone from out of town starts picketing the town’s library saying that a number of children’s books, including Jessie’s latest, should be banned. Things really heat up though when the picketer is found murdered.
This is a delightful cozy mystery and I really like Jessie. She is determined to solve the crime not only to help the town sheriff, who is her current boyfriend, but because both the picketing and then the murder are turning people away from supporting the much needed library bond. Jessie is the co-chairperson of the library bond campaign and she feels very strongly that the bond must pass.
The story takes place in a small town where everyone knows everyone else and rumors spread at the speed of light. However, it also seems as if some things which should have been common knowledge are not. Jessie has just moved back to Riverport after her divorce so I understand why she has to ferret out information, but I thought some of the information should have been known by the long term residents. The result is that Jessie is led astray and while the path she takes is most exciting and interesting, I was a bit disappointed that I figured out the murderer half way through the novel. There were times when I wanted to shake Jessie to get her to wake up, but even though I spotted the murderer early on, the final scene was very tense and exciting.
However, enjoyment of this novel is not dependent on the solution of the mystery. The interactions between the characters is engaging. I liked a number of the secondary characters, especially Judge Roberts, who co-chairs the library bond committee with Jessie. And Genevieve, the cat Jessie inherited from her mother, steals a few scenes.
Readers of the cozy mystery who want a pleasant read about life in a small town without worrying overly about the mystery will certainly enjoy The Ayes Have It.
Editor's note: This article was originally published at Long and Short Reviews. It has been republished with permission. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.