Welcome back to another Write On Purpose book review. I share well-written books. I highlight what makes each good from the reader’s perspective, and reveal what writing skills and techniques make it an irresistible read. Thus, each review serves both writers and readers. This time, it’s a cozy mystery by Blanche Manos titled, Moonlight Can Be Murder: A Ned McNeil Mystery.

This is one of the better cozies I have read. You’ll find out why shortly. First, have a look at the book cover and description.

Moonlight Can Be Murder: A Ned McNeil Mystery. by Blanche Manos

Nettie “Ned” McNeil cannot imagine why her Uncle Cover of Moonlight Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery: A Ned McNeil Mystery by Blanche ManosJavin feels that he is in danger, but she loads her suitcases into her car, leaves Atlanta and her late husband, and makes the long trek to Ednalee, Oklahoma, to help out. When she arrives, Uncle Javin’s white Victorian house is strangely dark and silent.

Inside she finds him lying on the floor in a pool of blood. So begin her first moments back in her old home town, where the mystery of Uncle Javin’s violent death pulls at Ned. But his mysterious murderer seems to always be just a few steps ahead of her search. How can she protect her own life as she pursues a killer who will stop at nothing to guard a deadly secret?

I like cozies, because they’re suspenseful tales about people being thrown into difficult circumstances. Sure, there’s a dead body, but without the gore of true crime mysteries. What else makes this a good read?

Excellent, tight description

I love when an author uses few words yet conveys much. Here are a couple of examples:

“He indicated a straight backed, wooden chair which faced a broad, cluttered desk.”

“I tugged (the shade) up and was surprised to see sunlight dancing on a snow-covered world, its brightness belying any of the evil that happened here.”

Terrific sense of place

Sense of place, in case this is a new term to you, means you know where you are. When the author is skilled, you have a movie running in your head and can see each scene unfold in your mental theater. Manos pulls the reader into each scene. The two examples of description above convey this well.

“The morning sun pricked dazzling ruby and sapphire sparks from the snow mounding the yard, and in the light of day, the house seemed inviting.”

You can see the sparks on the bright snow, can’t you?

Well done deep point of view

The reader experiences everything in the story from the point of view of Ned McNeil. Blanche does a great job of conveying how Ned experiences what happens, not simply what’s going on in the world around her. Here’s a snipped from when she sees the name plate on the desk of the Chief of Police.:

“A memory stirred deep within me, but I was too upset to pursue it.”


No spoilers. A few secrets turn the plot and move the characters’ actions.

Enjoyable POV character

I enjoy cozies featuring amateur sleuths of many different ages and backgrounds. I like Ned. Being inside her head is interesting. She’s a widow with a love for coffee and good friends.

Ready for more in the series

Moonlight Can Be Murder is the first of a series, and I am interested to see what happens next with Ned McNeil. I previously reviewed one of her co-authored books, The Cemetery Club.

Buy Moonlight Can Be Murder

About Blanche Day Manos

Blanche Day ManosA native Oklahoman, Blanche Day Manos became a transplanted resident of Arkansas when she and her husband moved closer to their children. A descendant of both Cherokee and Irish ancestors, she has a love for tradition, history, and the tales that accompany them. A fan of cozy mysteries since childhood, Blanche devours the books of her favorite authors and is always on the lookout for new ones. She has enjoyed success in selling to various periodicals but her first love is mysteries. Her first two cozy mysteries, written with co-author Barbara Burgess, are The Cemetery Club and Grave Shift. They have recently been re-published, newly-formatted, edited, and with new cover pictures by Pennell Publishing. The third book in her Darcy and Flora cozy mystery series is Best Left Buried. All three books are available from Pen-L.com and Amazon.com.

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