The Ayes Have It by Janet Majerus

AYES
The Ayes Have It by Janet Majerus
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (136 Pages pgs)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Jessie’s stuck in the middle again.

Since Jessie Schroeder moved back to Riverport, a small town overlooking the Mississippi River, it seems every time she turns around she trips over a body or uncovers some act of malfeasance. Sheriff Gil Keller said it best, “Jessie attracts trouble like a magnet attracts iron filings.”

In The Ayes Have It, history repeats itself. All Jessie is trying to do is her civic duty as a member of the Library Board and co-chairperson of the library bond issue campaign. Then a representative of an organization calling itself GOCLAP (Guarding Our Children from the Lewd and Pornographic) turns up to picket the library. He claims that Jessie’s prizing-winning children’s book, The Sunburnt Ghost, should be banned.

After a fellow member of the Library Board decides to oppose the bond issue, Jessie discovers he has a checkered past and a long-time relationship with the picketer. The affair rapidly gets complicated when the picketer turns up murdered and Jessie becomes a suspect.

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.

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