Look at that sphynx! With a cover like that, I couldn't say no!
I stumbled on Poisoned Primrose (Motts Cold Case Mystery, Book 1 ) by Dahlia Donovan when looking for an indie published cozy mystery to read. My goal this year was to read nine indies and I was behind, but I also wanted an indie in a genre I hadn't read indie before. When I saw the cover of Poisoned Primrose, I knew I needed to read it. It is book one in a series which also includes Pierced Peony, Pickled Petunia, and Purloined Poinsettia.
This book follows Motts, an autistic and asexual middle-aged woman and her sphynx, Cactus, who move into a late relative's cottage in a small English town. She knows the villagers, as she spent many childhood visits there, so there's a strong returning-to-small-town vibe. As Motts redoes the garden, she finds a very dated dead body. Motts pokes around to learn more about the victim and those who knew her, but the killer doesn't appreciate Motts's interest.
I liked the portrayal of the sphynx cat, Cactus, it was 10/10. The author either has or has lived with one, I'm sure. Cactus was my favorite character. I liked that the main character was written by an autistic author. I've read a couple books now about an autistic main character written by neurotypical authors and they get quite cringey with the stereotypical portrayals. I liked that this book avoided that! I also liked how Motts's asexual identity was respected and represented.
Unfortunately, the mystery was not clear enough to me. I didn't even have a sense of the age of the victim or why she was buried in Motts's garden at all. I was left without the sense of satisfaction that a solved mystery normally leaves me. I also had no idea what most characters looked like, so it was hard to picture some scenes.
Overall, this book is for you if you're looking for authentic autism or asexual representation, if you want to fall in love with or learn what it's like to own a sphynx, or if you prefer mysteries about cold cases. It is not for you if you want all your questions answered at the end of a mystery, want a romantic subplot involving spice, or a prefer fresh dead body in your mysteries.
Have you read Poisoned Primrose? Do you recommend other indie cozy mysteries? What other books have great autism rep? Let's discuss in the comments!