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Posted on Wed, Jan 25, 2012 : 6:01 a.m.

'Plan Bee' by Hannah Reed should be your Plan A

By Lisa Allmendinger

(Reviewer's note: Cozy Corner is back after a brief vacation.)

Plan Bee
A Queen Bee Mystery
Hannah Reed

Paperback, 286 pages, $7.99

The Wild Clover, a former church, now a quaint grocery store, in August — a great place to escape as the gray of winter finally descends on this area.

In "Plan Bee," the third installment of the Queen Bee mysteries by Hannah Reed, you'll be reacquainted with bee and shop keeper Story Fischer, who has put on her smiley face as her mother informs her that there will be no live bee displays at the annual Harmony Festival in Moraine, Wis., which is just days away.

And when has this ever mattered to Story? In addition to this strong-willed but thoroughly delightful character, you’ll be reacquainted with her "Grams," who always sees the good in everyone and who tends to run over curbs with her boat-size car. "That's my grand-mother, never thinking a mean-spirited thought about anybody, even about the-bottom-of-the-barrel kind of humans."

Then there's Carrie Ann, Story's prone-to-addictions cousin, who works at the store. And Hunter Wallace, dog handler and county K-9 law enforcement officer, who is also Story's wonderful boyfriend. He takes on a more prominent role in this installment as their relationship has now elevated to the "honey, babe, sweet thing" level.

And then there’s Dinky, a scruffy little dog with very few redeeming qualities that has found a "temporary" home with Story while the dog's owner is out of town. And, although there's not much to like about this pet, I feel for the bad-behaving canine.

Add in a 12 year old who delights in blowing things up. And, Patti (Pity-Party) Dwyre with her nosy telescopic ways, who earned her name "by whining incessantly about the condition of her life, which is exactly the same as the rest of ours." She's just a hoot.

These characters are just one of the many aspects of this new series that I just adore. So when there's a dead body found in a graveyard — a body that wasn't supposed to be there, at least not yet — that disappears and reappears, this book takes off toward a page-turning finale.

The body is eventually found, and it's "stuffed in a fireplace like an enormous log" in Story's ex's home, right next door, no less.

A word of warning: When you sit down to read this book, be sure to get yourself large blocks of "you time," because you will not want to put it down until you find out whodunit.

I love, love, love this series. It's unusual. The characters grab you immediately and story follows a wonderful winding cozy path and adds fun side trips, which are part of a marvelous journey through a small town not unlike some I've come to know, love and frequently visit.

For those who haven’t read previous titles, you are really missing out on great reads, which further explores the rocky relationship between Story and local Police Chief Johnny Jay that dates back to high school.

Run, don't walk, to your favorite book store and get your hands on this new title — and if you haven't read the first two, pick those up as well. Then sit down in a comfy chair with a warm blanket and cup of tea (with honey) and enjoy.

On another note, don't miss the chance to meet Julie Hyzy and get a signed copy of her newest White House Chef title "Affairs of Steak" at Aunt Agatha’s book store, 213 S. Fourth Ave., in Ann Arbor Saturday at 2 p.m. The book is terrific, and Hyzy is delightful.

Lisa Allmendinger is a regional reporter for She can be reached at In addition, she reviews cozy mysteries in her column called “Cozy Corner.”