My girlfriend trouble4hire was recently saying that there is a niche mystery market for everything these days. Mysteries for people who like coffee, who like knitting, who like golf for Goddess' sake. No book could prove this point more aptly than The Gourdmother, which is a mystery about a woman who moves out to the country to try to make a go of her own business... decorating gourds.
You read that correctly the first time. Talk about a niche market. I think knew vaguely that sometimes gourds get decorated. I guess I have a decorated gourd rattle that my sister got me in South America some years back. But I was never aware of the time, commitment, and passion that people bring to these objects. In that regard the book was interesting.
In general as a mystery it was okay. It was not quite a cozy - it follows the general pattern of small town, focus on friends and family, the violence happens off-page... but a very graphic and horrible act of violence is referred to at a point in the book, which I found disturbing and surprising. So, although this mystery seems to be meant for a cozy audience, I think it has a little too much edge to satisfy us. Two and a half stars.