Death Takes Priority (Postmistress Mysery #1) by Jean Flowers (Berkley Prime Crime mass market paperback, 3 November 2015).
After many years and a broken engagement, Cassie Miller returns to her hometown of North Ashcot in the Massachusetts Berkshires. Trading her administrative position at the Main Post Office in Boston for a position as a small-town postmistress is a huge change, but she's ready for it.
Settling back into the rhythm of small-town life is not quite as easy as the professional adjustment, and Cassie is lonely, so she finds herself calling her best friend from Boston, Linda, almost every day.
Arriving at work one morning to discover that someone broke into the post office and stole piles of telephone books that were waiting to be handed out to her customers, Cassie is justifiably puzzled. She decides not to report the theft, assuming that the police will think she's crazy, that the post office inspectors will laugh, and that contacting the local phone company rep -- her high school boyfriend Wendell -- will be awkward. She opts to wait and try to think of a fourth option, and hopes that the situation will magically resolve itself in the meantime.
She accepts an invitiation to lunch from another newcomer to North Ashcot, Scott James, the manager of the local antique shop, hoping her friendless state is coming to an end. But in the middle of their meal, Scott is hauled away in handcuffs for an unexplained reason.
When an unidentified male body is found in the woods just outside of town, Cassie begins to question her judgement, wondering if Scott had something to do with that.
Figuring out what's going on will at least take her mind off her loneliness, so Cassie decides to do just that.
A post-office-related mystery is unusual. Reading this story, one not only enjoys a well-crafted mystery, one learns about the United States Postal System as well. Tidbits of postal policy and history are sprinkled amongst descriptions of eccentric small-town characters.
It will be interesting to see where Cassie's next adventure leads!
The publisher has generously offered a copy of Death Takes Priority to one of my readers. Please comment below by 12:01 a.m. on November 16, and don't forget to include an email address where I can contact you if you win. Entries from the U.S. only, please.
FTC Full Disclosure: Many thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy of the book.