Murder at Barclay Meadow by Wendy Sand Eckel is a debut novel released July 28, 2015 by Minotaur Books. It's to be the first in a series of Rosalie Hart mysteries. These mysteries fall into the cozy category. Rosalie is very much an amateur when it comes to solving crimes.
Rosalie Hart is unhappy at the beginning of the book. Her husband has requested a divorce because he has fallen in love with another woman. Rosalie leaves the house and moves into her aunt's house on the eastern shore of Maryland. It's a small town and tends to be insular. Everyone knows everybody else's business. This works both for her and against her as she becomes involved in solving the mystery of the body that washes up on her property from the river.
Rosalie takes a class on writing memoirs. The small group of students band together to form a group on Facebook called the What ifs. Together they decide to help Rosalie solve the mystery of Megan, the girl who washed up on the shore of the river.
It's interesting how the author uses Facebook for both Rosalie's group of friends keeping in touch and for Rosalie to keep in touch with her daughter Annie. Considering how many people use it the same way all the time, it makes the characters seem more real.
The one character I didn't like was the Sheriff. I think he was written that way on purpose. In which case, the author did a bang up job on him.
Another interesting aspect of the book is how much of it is spent developing the character of Rosalie Hart. There are parts where that is the main focus, almost to the point of being considered chick lit. But then the mystery takes over again.
The pace is fairly steady. It gets faster towards the end. Eckel keeps you guessing about who amongst the pool of suspects they've been gathering information on is actually the killer.
I really liked the character of Tyler and I hope there will be more of him in the second book in the series.
I gave this book 4 stars for balancing the mystery and the character development of Rosalie, and for a good mystery.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.