Meet Isabel Puddles and Isabel Puddles Investigates (Mitten State Mystery #1 and #2) by M.V. Byrne #bookreview #mystery

Title: Meet Isabel Puddles

Author: M.V. Byrne

Publisher: Kensington Cozies

Publication Date: November 24, 2020

Page Count: 338

My rating: 3 stars

About the book:

The only thing widow Isabel Puddles loves as much as her hometown of Gull Harbor on the shores of Lake Michigan is cozying up to a good mystery—but she never expected to be caught in the middle of one . . .

To the tourists and summer residents, Kentwater County is a picturesque community of small-town charm, fruitful farmland, and gorgeous freshwater beaches. To middle-aged widow Isabel Puddles, it’s where she enjoys breakfast every morning at a local café with her childhood best friend and spends her evenings cozying up with a good book and her devoted Jack Terrier, Jackpot. In between, Isabel makes ends meet through a variety of trades—preserving pickles, baking pies, working the counter at her cousin’s hardware shop, and occasionally helping “fix-up” the hair of corpses at the local funeral parlor.
When Isabel discovers a two-inch nail embedded in the skull of Earl Jonasson, it seems the octogenarian may not have died of a stroke. His son is quickly arrested when his alibi doesn’t check out. But Isabel has known Earl Jr. since they were kids and can’t believe he’d murder his own father, regardless of his financial difficulties. As gossip about Earl Sr.’s land and insurance policy money starts to spread around the county, Isabel finds herself conducting her own investigation to clear her friend’s name. But real detective work isn’t like what she sees on TV, and she’s meeting dangerous suspects who don’t like Isabel poking around in their business . . .

Find this book online:

Goodreads  /   Amazon*

Title: Isabel Puddles Investigates

Author: M.V. Byrne

Publisher: Kensington

Publication Date: November 30, 2021

Page Count: 384

My rating: 3 stars

About the book:

Sure to enchant fans of Garrison Keillor’s Lake Wobegone tales, the second Mitten State Mystery by veteran television writer M.V. Byrne finds senior sleuth and Jill-of-all-trades Isabel Puddles investigating a deadly mystery among Rust Belt royalty in the cozy town of Gull Harbor, Michigan…

“Too late” isn’t a factor for Isabel Puddles—until the clock starts ticking on a deadly mystery in the cozy town of Gull Harbor, Michigan…

Isabel is living life on her terms as summer stirs the peaceful shores of Lake Michigan. Only slowing down to meet her oldest friend for daily coffee, the newly licensed PI has found herself chipping away at the college degree she never completed—and, to her surprise, eagerly awaiting letters from her pen pal, an admired British mystery writer. But when her latest client turns out to be an extravagant recluse who’s rich both in secrets and money, Isabel becomes embroiled in the strange world of Rust Belt royalty and the Memorial Day Weekend disappearance of a handsome young heir.

Beyond the famous family name and ugly rumors surrounding her, Abigail Bachmeier is an enigma. With one great nephew presumed dead after vanishing off the side of a ferry, Abigail makes the strange request to locate another missing relative. As Isabel investigates and gets closer to revealing at least one more possible murder, she begins to suspect yet another life could soon be in terrible danger—her own.

Find this book online:

Goodreads  /   Amazon*

Meet Isabel Puddles and Isabel Puddles Investigates by M.V. Byrne are the first and second book respectively of the cozy Mitten State Mystery series. As with most cozy mysteries each book of the Mitten State Mystery series does contain it’s own mystery that will be solved so they can be read as a standalone of in any order if choosing to do so. There is however character development that carries over book to book for those that follow the series from the beginning.

Isabel Puddles is a widow and the mother of two grown children living in Gull Harbor, Michigan. Isabel supports herself by doing all kinds of odd jobs and considers herself a jack of all trades. Most notably of late this avid mystery fan has taken a job in the local funeral parlor doing up the hair of the corpses. This is where Isabel finds a nail in the head of the departed, Earl Jonasson, and opens up a murder case.

Then in the second book Isabel decides that after her first dive into the deep waters of solving a murder to add to her resume once again and got herself a P.I. license. Isabel however still works her other odd jobs and as she’s helping out at her cousin’s hardware shop a new client walks in. Soon Isabel is hired by the extravagant recluse, Abigail Bachmeier, when her nephew disappeared and she tasks Isabel with finding another missing relative.

Meet Isabel Puddles and Isabel Puddles Investigates by M.V. Byrne were both cozy mysteries that fell right into the this was alright pile but not ones that really grabbed me. Both books had a slower pace to them which would be fine if full of the laughs I love but those were fewer than I’d like too. The second book even felt as if completely starting over again with the series instead of just being peppered with reminders here and there. Overall these are in the not bad but not ones I fell in love with leaving them at three stars each.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

About the author:

M.V. Byrne was born in East Lansing, Michigan and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, although he spent his summers on Lake Michigan with family. He later returned to East Lansing to attend Michigan State University. After years of living in both NYC and LA, he has settled in LA full time where he continues to work as a writer/producer in unscripted TV, though he can now add the job title of “Author” to his resume. He’s currently working on the next Isabel Puddles Mystery. He can be found online at

*This is an Amazon affiliate link which will allow me as an associate to earn a small commission on any purchase made through the link of the products I share. This commission in no way changes the pricing of any items for the buyer.

2 Comments on “Meet Isabel Puddles and Isabel Puddles Investigates (Mitten State Mystery #1 and #2) by M.V. Byrne #bookreview #mystery

  1. Thanks for your honest review Carrie, or I may have been tempted. I feel much the same about a cozy that I am currently reading, The Dinner Lady Detectives. 🤷‍♀️❤📚


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