Title: The Mystery of the Bones (Snow and Winter #4)
Author: C.S. Poe
Publisher: DSP Publications
Release Date: September 24, 2019
Page Count: 200
Reviewed by: Kristin F.
Heat Level: 2 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
It’s been a full year since the mystery that brought antique shop owner and part-time amateur sleuth Sebastian Snow together with NYPD homicide detective Calvin Winter. Patience, sanity, and their very lives have been put to the test, but love has persevered. Although Sebastian is now New York City’s best-known busybody, he’s done solving crimes and wants nothing more than to plan a romantic budget wedding.
Then Snow’s Antique Emporium receives a decapitated human head in the mail and the holidays are gory once again. Sebastian patently disregards the mystery of a lifetime because he is done with death and danger—but the killer escalates. Before Sebastian knows it, his closest friends and family are dragged into a series of horrific murders with antiquated clues hinting to the infamous Victorian American Bones Wars.
The clock is ticking to recover a long-lost artifact linked to paleontologist Edward Drinker Cope and to capture a murderer. But it’s not Sebastian who may become the next target—it’s Calvin.
It’s just been a year since the Mystery of the Moving Image, and Sebastian’s world is about to go topsy-turvy again. Sebastian and Calvin have been living together, Calvin is getting therapy for his PTSD, they have a dog, and they’re looking forward getting married and Christmas. But that’s not in the cards. A mystery box arrives at the Emporium that thrusts Sebastian and Calvin into the middle of a very unpleasant series of murder.
This should NOT be read as a stand-alone. The first three books establish the background, characters and setting for book three, which are integral to Calvin and Sebastian’s relationship and the ending for The Mystery of the Bones.
I really don’t want to write this review, as if not putting words to print can circumvent the conclusion of this series. To say I’m bummed, would be a major understatement.
This is Sebastian’s story and, in my humble estimation, this was perhaps the strongest book in the series. I thought Sebastian grew-up emotionally – he was a more confident character, he expressed his independent nature in a positive way, and the whining that so bothered me in book three went away.
The reader also sees Seb’s vulnerable side, his angst over wedding planning, his fears when the bottom of his world is yanked out under his feet, and how he learns that he can’t go it alone. This is the strength of the plot.
Plot – it’s a cozy mystery, so you have to give the mystery part a bit of leeway. I do admit, it was nicely done, it provided a solid backdrop for above, and really brought the whole cast of characters together in a unified group.
My main grumble with the book and plot was the behavior of the upper level echelon of the police. I’m purposely being vague as to avoid spoilers, but given the precedence in the previous books, the antagonism toward Sebastian came across more as a standard cozy-mystery (or even mystery) trope than I think was warranted.
This was also compounded by what I felt was a rather abrupt conclusion. Lights! Sirens! Drama! …done. This is one time I’ll say a book needed a longer epilogue because I was left feeling a bit, bereft.
Overall, I enjoyed this greatly, I almost read it in one sitting (work got in the way), and I strongly recommend this whole series if you enjoy cozy mysteries.
Snow and Winter Series