Down in Flames

Down in Flames

by Cheryl Hollon

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Overview

 
A fatal hit-and-run in front of Savannah Webb's glass shop proves to be no accident . . .
 
A highlight of Savannah's new glass bead workshop is a technique called flame-working, which requires the careful wielding of acetylene torches. Understandably, safety is a top priority. But as Savannah is ensuring her students' safety inside, a hit-and-run driver strikes down a pedestrian outside her shop.
 
The victim is Nicole Borawski, the bartender/manager at the Queen's Head Pub, owned by Savannah's boyfriend Edward. It quickly becomes clear that this was no random act of vehicular manslaughter. Now the glass shop owner is all fired up to get a bead on the driver—before someone else meets a dead end . . .
 
Praise for the Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery series
 
“Hollon hits a home run.” —RT Book Reviews 
 
“Will keep you guessing to the end!”
—Krista Davis, New York Times bestselling author

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781496711793
Publisher: Kensington
Publication date: 06/25/2019
Series: A Webb's Glass Shop Mystery Series , #6
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 37,946
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Cheryl Hollon now writes full-time after she left an engineering career of designing and building military flight simulators in amazing countries such as England, Wales, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, and India. Fulfilling the dream of a lifetime, she combines her love of writing with a passion for creating glass art. In the small glass studio behind her house in St. Petersburg, Florida, Cheryl and her husband design, create, and produce fused glass, stained glass, and painted glass artworks. Visit her online at CherylHollon.com, on Facebook at CherylHollonWriter, or on Twitter @CherylHollon.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Monday afternoon,Webb's Glass Shop

"Fire!" screamed Rachel Rosenberg. She pointed at her twin sister. "Faith started a fire."

Savannah Webb sniffed the distinctive odor of burning hair. She ran over to Faith's student bench, grabbing the fire extinguisher on the way. She quickly scanned each twin's short white hair, which appeared untouched. Faith was near tears but pointed to a pink cashmere sweater that lay in a smoldering heap on the floor behind the metal work stool.

Faith snuffled like a toddler. "I tossed it over there."

As normal, the twins had been the first students to arrive. Also, as usual, they dressed alike and wore head-to-toe vibrant pink. From pink ballet flats and slacks embroidered with flamingoes, to cotton sweater-sets with flamingos screen-printed on the front. All topped by large flamingo earrings and pink polished nails.

Using two rapid spurts from the extinguisher, Savannah sprayed the burning sweater. Then she stomped on the remains for good measure. She turned to her perennial students, her throat still pulsing from the surge of adrenalin. "Are you all right? Did you get burned?"

"No." Faith sat very still with her eyes wide, staring at the sodden lump of pink char. "I forgot about the rule banning loose clothing. I got a chill and drew the sweater over my shoulders. My sleeve must have dangled across the flame." Faith's eyes began to fill with tears. "I'm sorry."

The twins were typically aloof, tightly controlled, but friendly. Emotion at this level felt awkward.

Savannah heard the pitch of her voice rise. "What possessed you to turn on the torch? We haven't started class."

Faith's eyes grew even wider. "I just don't know. It seemed to call to me to turn it on. I couldn't resist. I've never had that happen before."

Savannah covered her mouth with a hand and pressed her lips together. I'm so relieved they're okay!

Rachel huffed a great breath and put both hands on her hips. "You've always been clumsy. You should have waited for Savannah to tell us exactly how to light the torch. Perhaps this class isn't such a good idea."

Savannah put an arm around each twin and drew them into a warm side hug. "Ladies, you know that at Webb's Glass Shop, a class wouldn't be complete without you two. You've attended every class offered for the last — how many years?"

The twins looked at each other and Rachel shrugged. "It's been at least five years, don't you think?"

"Yes," said Faith. "We were walking by and noticed the poster in the window offering beginning stained-glass classes and we went right in. You know, of course, that your dad was a wonderful instructor."

Savannah smiled. "Yes, he was." She paused for just a second. His loss was still a raw spot. "Now that he's gone, you've been my security blanket and my dear friends. I need you. Don't decide about the class right now."

Faith wrung her hands. "But I could have burned the shop down. You might have lost the whole building." She put her hands over her eyes and began to cry.

"Stop that. I'm well prepared for any little accident. My friend over at Zen Glass Studio says that if there's not at least one fire a day, he's not making money. He runs a lot of students through his shop. Close calls are part of the deal."

Savannah felt her heart pounding and she huffed out a breath. Near accidents caused an aftereffect, but they were far better than a real accident. She felt her confidence drop as she thought of her six beginner students wielding molten glass inches in front of their faces.

Rachel gently pushed Savannah back and folded Faith into her arms. "Don't fret, sister. It wasn't a problem. You saw how quickly Savannah put out the fire."

Faith lowered her hands and gulped a shuddering breath. "I'm so sorry."

Savannah put a hand on each twin's shoulder. "You both enjoyed the sand-etching class, didn't you?"

The twins stepped apart, looked at each other and then glanced away.

"Remember that and give flameworking a chance. I won't hear a word about quitting until you've gotten to the end of today's class."

"But —" chirped Faith.

Savannah pointed like a teacher. "Back to your workstations."

Rachel and Faith returned to their work stools. They folded their hands and raised their chins. They looked ready to pay attention to the first lesson in making a glass bead.

Savannah sighed deeply. Her relief that no one had been injured was both personal and calculating. An accident could tarnish the reputation of the family-owned glass shop that she had inherited from her father. Even though her small business was doing well, it would all collapse in the wake of burning the whole building down.

She turned to the other three new students. "This might have been the best unplanned lesson ever. This is not a risk-free art form." They were wide-eyed and solemn with nodding heads. "I'll expect your full attention during the safety briefing."

She scooped up the sodden lump of burned sweater with a dust pan and dumped it into the trash bin. It stood next to the fifty-gallon drum that contained their unusable glass. It was nearly full and would need dumping into the bright blue city recyclables bin in the next day or so.

Today was her first afternoon teaching a workshop in glass-bead creation. The method called flameworking, or sometimes lamp-working, utilized acetylene torches fastened to the front of each table, facing away from the students. The beads were formed by manipulating colored glass rods through the flame.

Safety for the students was always Savannah's primary worry when working with an open flame, so she had been testing the torches one by one when Faith let the sleeve of her sweater catch fire.

To accommodate her growing student clientele, Savannah had installed all the student workstations in the newly acquired expansion space of Webb's Glass Shop. She owned the entire building, so when one of her long-term tenants retired and closed their art-supply retail business, she took the opportunity to expand. Luckily, the expanded classroom was adjacent to her current location. Savannah hired contractors to remove the adjoining wall and created a larger student space.

That left two more businesses in her building that still held on to their leases. One was a nail salon and the other a consignment shop. She rarely raised her rent more than two percent a year because loyalty meant so much more to her than risking an empty rental.

Because the flameworking torches needed powerful exhaust fans to remove noxious fumes and expel clouds of glass dust, she had placed the workstations on the back wall facing the alley and had a contractor knock small holes into the outside wall for the fans. The construction work on the six-station teaching space was finished mere minutes before the class began at one o'clock this afternoon.

There was a little space for her personal station, but students brought money in the door, so that work would be finished later. All but one student had shown up early to learn bead-making. They had also gotten an unplanned show and prime example of the dangers of working with an open flame.

The bell over the entry door jangled. "Am I too late?" asked a thirty-something tall woman dressed in muscle-hugging black athletic wear. "Have I missed something important?" Her pale face flushed and a sheen of sweat formed on her brow.

Savannah walked into the display room and led her into the new classroom. "A little, but you're in good time." Savannah shook her head. "We've had a bit of delay getting started. Anyway, you're the last one to arrive, so our class is complete. If you could take a seat at the end workstation, we can all make our introductions. After that I'll make some important safety and housekeeping announcements, and then we'll begin."

Savannah pointed to the late-arriving student. "Welcome. We'll start introductions with you. Give us your name, where you live, and what you want to get out of this class."

The pale lady looked extremely uncomfortable at the notion of speaking. She cleared her throat not once, but three times. "I'm Myla Katherine Nedra, but everyone calls me Myla Kay. I'm a seasonal resident from Ann Arbor, Michigan. I'm recently widowed, and I couldn't stomach the idea of a cold winter in our big house all alone, so I rented one of the tiny bungalow cottages in a courtyard within a few blocks of here. This class should be a great distraction and will hopefully be a way to get to know the neighborhood."

Savannah raised her eyebrows. That's an unusual way to introduce yourself — recently widowed. Most women would be reluctant to admit that so quickly. She's confident.

"Thank you, Myla Kay. You must be in that street of tiny houses near my house. I live right down the block from you. I find the tiny-house zone in the Kenwood Historic Neighborhood fascinating, although I could never live in one. Which one did you rent?"

"I chose the converted Blue Bird school bus."

Savannah bobbed her head. "I walked through that one while I was at the Tiny Home Festival last year. The bus has a very colorful history. Remind me to tell you about it."

She's awfully young to be a widow.

Savannah looked toward the next student. He adjusted the collar of his green Columbia fishing shirt and stood in front of his work stool. He said in a booming voice, "My name is Lonnie McCarthy. I'm from Pittsburgh. My wife and I are staying downtown with friends for a few weeks and I have some basic experience with making stained glass. I want to present my wife with some handmade beads for her fancy Pandora bracelet." He gave everyone a politician's wide-toothed smile and sat.

The third student, with brown hair framing soft brown-eyes, looked as gawky as her sixteen years of age. She popped up before Savannah could signal her turn. "Hi, I'm Patricia Karn." Her voice was high and thin, exactly like her teenage figure. "I'm here from Indian Rocks Beach. I'm a native Floridian but my parents are from Akron, Ohio. I want to make beads as Christmas gifts to send up to my six cousins up North. I'm home schooled and this class will fulfill my art elective credits for the year."

"Thanks, Patricia. Did you bring your signed release?"

"Yes, ma'am." Patricia pulled a folded slip of paper from her back pocket and handed it over.

The next student sat until Savannah nodded toward him. He was white-haired with a close-clipped beard and mustache. He gripped the back of the chair and stood, favoring one knee. Even at his full height, he was a little stooped. "I'm Herbert Klug." He gave a sheepish shrug of his shoulders. "I'm here because my wife wants me out of the house."

Everyone laughed. His timing and stage presence reminded Savannah of a stand-up comedian.

He smiled at the reaction. "No, I'm kidding. That's not exactly true. I'm a retired research professor. My lab was downtown at the Bayboro Campus of the University of South Florida." His well-modulated voice had everyone's attention. "Although I haven't created anything in glass as an artist, I have certainly made plenty of glass pipettes for my lab. This is my chance to explore flameworking as an artist." He maneuvered cautiously back onto his work stool.

He must have been an excellent instructor. Edward had been prodding Savannah to hire more staff. Edward was still coming to grips with his new role as her fiancé. He was cautious about giving her advice about her business, but felt compelled to solve her tendency to overcommit, quickly followed by overworking. However, just because he's a research professor doesn't mean he'll have an affinity for teaching civilians. I'll see how he survives the chaos of the class.

Next were Faith and Rachel. Savannah knew they were more than eighty years old, but their looks and actions declared middle-sixties. The twins deftly avoided all discussions about their age. They stood up together. "Hello, everyone. I'm Rachel Rosenberg and, obviously, this is my twin sister, Faith."

"We've been coming to all of the Webb's Glass Shop classes for years," said Faith.

Savannah stepped between them and put an arm around each twin. "Webb's Glass Shop, like any artistic enterprise, needs patrons. These two ladies have been attending classes for years and knew my father, who started this business from nothing. Without this level of support, the arts have no chance to survive." She turned her head to each twin. "I appreciate your patronage more than I can say."

"Yes." Rachel looked at Savannah. "We find the challenge of learning new skills keeps us young."

They sat down with their backs to the workstations and Savannah felt all eyes upon her.

She had taken the opportunity to brush up on her flameworking skills at the nearby Zen Glass Studio. She wasn't like her dad, in that she was open to using any resource available to make her classes the best they could be. He had been more of an "if it isn't available here, it isn't worth having" management style.

The Zen studio was less than a mile away and, like hers, was a small shop that catered to beginning glass students and offered work space and time for advanced students. The owner, Josh Poll, cheerfully advised Savannah about how to set up the student work space along with a demonstration workbench.

Josh had been turning away students and felt another teaching venue would be good for both Webb's Glass Shop and Zen Glass Studio. There were enough snowbirds and retirees seeking adult education or lifestyle classes to keep the arts-based businesses solvent. It was another example of how the business owners supported each other. They were still competitors, but all boats rise on an incoming tide.

"Thanks, everyone. First things first. I need to cover the safety issues. It is important to wear formfitting clothing, pinned-back hair and closed-toe shoes. Glass does occasionally drop onto the floor — but mostly it will stay on your work surface. If it does drop on the rubber mats, it will flame up. Let me handle it. I'll pick up the glass with pliers and stamp on the flames. It cools surprisingly quickly, but don't touch it." She lowered her head a touch and winked at Faith. "No loose sweaters on the shoulders or jackets tied around the waist. Understood?" The students nodded their agreement.

"Okay, then. Everyone, follow me."

Savannah walked over to the back door, went outside and held the door for everyone to follow. She pointed to the newly installed tanks that sat in a fenced-in enclosure. She pulled out a key and unlocked the gate.

"This is the butane tank — just like the ones you might use for your barbecue grill." She pointed to the controls. "Here's the knob to turn off the gas. I will probably never ask you to do this, but if I ask — turn the knob to the right. Remember this phrase: Righty tighty, lefty loosey. It's a memory trick for: Turn right for OFF and turn left for ON. That's universal. Okay, back inside."

She led everyone to a stainless-steel container not far from the end of the long workbench. There was a workstation space on the far-left side of the back wall that Savannah planned to use as her own, so it had a higher quality torch and more advanced tools.

"This is the control for the oxygen tank. The same thing applies — Righty tighty, lefty loosey."

"Question," said Herbert. "I thought we would be using those portable torches that you can get at the hardware store."

"Those don't get hot enough long enough for us to work the glass. We need our temperatures to be at least 4500 degrees. Mixing the butane with oxygen gets us there. Good question. What did you use in your lab?"

He shrugged his shoulders. "Since I was only modifying thin lab glass, I just used the Bunsen burners that were already in the lab."

"We need more heat since we're going to combine solid glass rods," said Savannah. "Now for the first aid salve you're most likely to use more than anything else. Let me introduce you to Bernie the aloe plant." On a plant stand against the right-hand wall was a moldy clay pot that contained a strange plant with ugly spikes sticking out in every direction. "If you get a slight burn, pluck off a stem, split it open, and slather the juice all over the burn. It will seal it so you can keep on working. Obviously, if you get a bad burn, we'll take further action, but for minor ones, Bernie is your friend."

Patricia stiffened. "I know this sounds silly, but I've never worked with fire before. I'm actually very nervous."

Herbert learned over and said in a low voice, "Don't let that stop you. You need practice in order to get comfortable." He quickly glanced over to Savannah and then straightened. "Oh, I'm sorry. It's not my place to answer questions. Force of habit, I'm afraid."

"But you're completely right." Savannah noted his deft handling of Patricia's fears. "It's perfectly normal to be cautious, but not to the point where you don't learn. I spent my first weeks near Seattle at Pilchuck Glass School making paperweights. I made so many I could do them in my sleep."

Patricia raised her hand. "Did you meet the famous Chihuly? I love his work! I practically haunt his museum downtown."

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "Down in Flames"
by .
Copyright © 2019 Cheryl Hollon.
Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Down in Flames 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
debforb56 23 days ago
Down in Flames by Cheryl Hollon sparks another good mystery with characters that are intriquing and can melt your heart. The way she uses down to earth people, flaws and all, and weaves them into the intricate pattern of the whole mystery is wonderful. Some of my favorite characters are Jacob and the twin sisters Rachel and Faith. They just add that special element to the story. All of the people involved in the story bring a family like quality to the mystery and makes it special. If you like a good mystery, with fun loving characters, A unique setting and unexpected twists and turns then you will enjoy this book. Jacob is a witness to a hit and run which throws him into shock complicated by his autism. Savannah has to help the police in finding out what Jacob knows and finding who hit and killed Nicole before that person comes after her and Jacob. As she investigates she finds that maybe they didn't know Nicole as well as they thought. Is her secret life what got her killed? Savannah wants to know but could her snooping be detrimental to her health too? You will want to read the book to find out. I enjoyed this book. It was a fast paced, intriquing read with elements of surprise to keep you reading. I think as you read it you are easily able to relate to all the characters and feel like you know them. I like a book that has characters that might be someone you know. If there was a down side it might be that it was a little wordy in a couple of places but not bad. I would of liked to have a little more complexity to the mystery but it was still good. I would recommend this book and series if you like a good cozy mystery. I received this book for my honest opinion and review.
karaleigh2 23 days ago
This is book 6 in a series, but it works well as a stand-alone; the author was new to me, and it’s very well-written. I enjoyed the story a lot, particularly the art aspects—the making of glass beads was particularly fascinating to me. The author obviously has vast experience in this area or has done extensive research; other books in the series deal with other procedures such as the creation of stained glass. This book also explored the art of graffiti/street art in an in educational and intriguing way. Cozy mysteries are sometimes a bit formulaic, but due primarily to the art of glassmaking as the protagonist’s profession, this one was more unique. The characters are well-developed and largely likable; in the back of the book there is a cast of characters as well as a glossary of glassmaking terms, and they would have been more helpful at the front of the book, but I actually didn’t need them, since the author addressed these well for someone not familiar with the previous books in the series. The mystery was pretty good, with some red herrings. The main character’s fiancé runs a restaurant and I wasn’t certain that the running of the restaurant was as realistic as it could have been—he seemed to be able to leave his restaurant with no real management at the drop of a hat as needed, but that might be nitpicking. The book was a fairly quick read, but substantial; it’s also at a higher reading level than a lot of cozies. The author does push various social issues pretty strongly, but it didn’t interfere with my enjoyment of the book. I will definitely go back and read the previous books in this series and highly recommend this book. I was provided a free ARC, but these opinions are my own.
Mamam00ngrrlie 23 days ago
I have been reading this series since the first book and really enjoy it. The characters get better and more deep with every book. I love Savannah, her hardworking attitude, and her love for the people around her. Watching Webb's Glass Shop grow and blossom has been a great addition to the series. This time around Nicole, one of Edward's employees and Savannah's friend, is hit out in front of the store. At first it seems like a normal hit and run, but further investigation leads to the conclusion it was murder! Unfortunately, Jacob who is Savannah's friend and employee is the witness to the hit and run. He has Asperger's and has become a valuable member of her team. This hits him hard and renders him mute while he processes what happens. They need to figure out who hurt their friend and college, and soon. This was a fast paced book. I don't think you have to be current on the series, as everything is explained well that happened before, but it does add even more depth to the book. It was definitely a page turner for me and kept me guessing until the end. I was sent a book in the hopes I would review it, but all opinions are mine and mine alone.
BunnySTx 23 days ago
Down in Flames is the final book in Cheryl Hollon's A Webb's Glass Shop Mystery. When I first saw this book, I had no idea that it was book six in a series, but I can say that for the most part this book can be read as a stand-alone. While most of the relationships between the characters have already been established this story is easy to get into and follow along with what is going on. A friend of Savannah and her fiance Edward is killed in a hit and run accident outside her shop. The horrific and tragic incident is witnessed by her autistic assistant Jacob and his service dog Suzy. The author creates an immense air of mystery as Jacob reacts to what he has witnessed by going mute. There are no other witnesses and so the investigation must proceed delicately. Add in that the police force is in the middle of a move that is proving troublesome and you have a general idea that this is not going to get solved quickly. The characters are interesting to an extent, but I found some to be a bit flat. The mystery drives this story as the author takes us deeper as to show us that all is not what it seems. There is more going on than meets the eye and this I appreciate. Nicole was more than just a bartender/manager. The author shows us also that Nicole had a secretive side that even those closest to her didn't know about or to what extent. But could something that Nicole herself investigating...could that have been what got her killed? I applaud the author for keeping me guessing as to who was the killer. I began to suspect one person only for it to turn out to be someone else in the end. These are the type of mysteries I truly enjoy. I am going to rate this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. I'm taking off half a star because there are a couple of scenes that don't really make sense to me but only because of the abruptness of them. I don't quite follow. Also, for me, some of the characters were a bit flat. I understand that since they weren't the focus they got less attention, but I wanted things to blend a bit better. If you have read the previous books in this series and enjoyed them then I encourage you to pick this book up and finish out the series. I'm sure that you will enjoy.
Vhardman318 23 days ago
In the next installment of Cheryl Hollon’s Webb Glass Shop Mysteries it opens with Nicole, Edward’s manager at the Queens Head Pub, is struck by a hit-and-run driver. Was it an accident or was it on purpose? The only real witness to it is Jacob, Savannah’s restorationist, who also happens to be on the autism spectrum, after the accident he goes mute and doesn’t remember anything. Will Jacob recover his memory and will Savannah help St Petersburg PD solve the case before someone else is run down. Cheryl Hollon’s knowledge of glass working is exceptional and really adds to the telling of the story. The characters are realistic and having an autistic character enhances the story. I enjoyed this book thoroughly and plan on reading the next book in the series as soon as it becomes available. Thank you Kensington Mystery for allowing me to read this book for a fair and honest review.
ABCollins 23 days ago
Cheryl Hollon keeps you guessing till the very end! Down in Flames is the sixth, and very enjoyable, book in the Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery series. As Savannah is teaching a new glass bead workshop that uses a flame-working technique, someone is hit by a car right outside her shop. At first it seems to be an accident, although the driver never stopped, but little bits start coming to light about the victim and her life, so it’s determined the hit-and-run was on purpose. When I read a series, I tend to get very invested and attached to characters, so it was with a bit of dismay to read this book and find that a recurring character was struck by a hit-and-run driver. But the story line was so well-woven that I couldn’t put it down. I like that the author keeps bringing the same characters back in each book, from Savannah’s fiancé to the elderly twins who take every one of her workshops. I was kept guessing to the very surprising end of the book! Savannah might not have any family in St. Petersburg, Fl, but her circle of friends has become like a family. They support her and each other in every book, from daily life to investigating crimes. This series also touches on modern day issues and lifestyles, and the author writes about them with the utmost respect. One of the best parts about reading Cozy Mysteries are the themes or hobbies. I’ve learned a lot about glass-working from this series, and the author herself creates glass art. This is definitely going on my keeper shelf!
VondaKay 24 days ago
Savannah spreads herself a bit thin when her assistant, Jacob, sees the bartender and manager of her Boyfriend’s Pub killed by a hit and run driver right in front of the two businesses. Jacob, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, becomes mute because of the trauma and can’t remember what happened. This leaves Savannah short handed to run her two locations. It also leaves her boyfriend, Edward, short handed during his busiest time of the year with a Burger competition about to take place. Savannah, is asked by the police to consult on the case. The more Savannah finds out about the hit and run and the victim, Nicole Borawski, the more she wonders what Nicole was involved in that could have brought her to this end. There are no straight forward answers to be had, just more possible suspects. Savannah, keeps going and enlists some of her friends to help her narrow down the suspect list. This story will keep you wanting to read even when you need to be doing other things. You won’t see the ending coming until right before it happens. Cheryl Hollon has created a great story with this newest book in the Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery Series. She does such a wonderful job of presenting the characters that I didn’t feel like I was jumping into the middle of a story. Following Savannah Webb through her classes and her investigation is such a treat. It might even have you wanting to find a local glass working class. You also might want to go and get the other books in the series to read if you haven’t read them already.
ashleym919 24 days ago
Down in Flames is the sixth book in Cheryl Hollon's "A Webb's Glass Shop Mystery" series. A fatal hit and run accident strikes close to home when Nicole Borawski, the bartender/manager at the Queen's Head Pub, is run down in the street in front of Webb's Glass Shop. But was it really an accident? This cozy mystery series is perfect for fans of glasswork or those who enjoy learning about different hobbies/areas of interest as well as solving mysteries. Hollon includes a lot of details about the flame-working glass bead class Savannah Webb is teaching in this book while other books in the series have focused on different techniques. I would also recommend the series to readers who like Florida, tourist towns and industries, and art. Savannah's investigation is aided by her group of friends and colleagues, who all offer different investigative skills. Jacob, Savannah's apprentice, is autistic and has an incredible eye for visual detail and research. I always enjoy when characters with unique perspectives are represented in books. Amanda, Savannah's employee, is well-versed in internet research. Edward, Savannah's fiancé, offers some muscle along with her weimaraner, Rooney. This cast of characters works along with the police in their investigations because Savannah is an official police consultant. Overall, I enjoyed this book. I liked the characters and thought the mystery was intriguing. I wish some of the investigating had been more detailed and that some of the suspects had been a bigger part of the book. The characters in this series are all going through fairly large life events so much of the book was devoted to character development. Fans who have read the series from the beginning will likely enjoy these parts of the book more than casual fans looking for a good mystery. Nevertheless, readers who are not familiar with the series can easily pick up this book and enjoy it.
MoCarney 24 days ago
After a day of teaching a glass-bead creation class in Webb’s Glass Shop, the owner Savannah is locking up when she hears a thud and brakes screeching out front. She runs outside to find the manager of her fiancé’s pub lying in the street. And we’re off! Savannah is compelled to find out who killed her friend and works with the police as a subject matter expert, which she’s done in the past. This is the sixth book in the series. I received this as an ARC and hadn’t read the first five books but the author did a good job introducing the characters and enough background so that I didn’t feel like I was missing any information. The characters are interesting and I like that the author tells the story from a few different points of view. It’s nice to see what other characters think and it gives the book a variety of voices. The author also gives a time stamp of sorts at the beginning of each chapter and that lends an air of urgency and the feeling of “watching this play out”. The murder mystery is complex enough to keep you guessing, although it’s clear from the beginning which people are suspicious. I love that the author has included characters with a variety of backgrounds; autism, homosexuality, different races. Discrimination is addressed and that’s refreshing. So many cosies just stick to quirky, yet one-dimensional, characters. The scene in the waiting room of the hospital at the beginning was agonizing to read. Very well written! While I hadn’t read the first books in this series, I found this one enjoyable enough.
KrisAnderson_TAR 24 days ago
Down in Flames is the sixth installment in A Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery series. While it can be read alone, I would recommend reading the series in order. It will allow you to know the characters and their relationships (cast of characters at end of book). Savannah has her hands full in Down in Flames with Nicole’s death, the new flameworking class, Amanda’s mother has been admitted to hospice so she is working part-time, Jacob has a setback after witnessing the hit-and-run that killed Nicole which leaves no one to run Webb’s Studio, Best Burger in the Burg competition and she is being pressured to set a wedding date. Savannah is a delightful protagonist. She is a well-developed character who is friendly, outgoing, and relatable. Edward Morris, Savannah’s fiancé, is the perfect mate for her. He is understanding and dives into the investigation’s with Savannah (he knows there is no stopping her). Amanda Blake is going through a rough time. Her mother, Viola, is in hospice so she knows her days are limited and wants to spend as much time with her as possible. Jacob is a high functioning autistic eighteen year old who has a support dog, Suzy. The Rosenberg twins are always a delight. I especially liked that we got to see more of Officer Joy Williams and Detective Parker. The police moving into their new HQ provided several humorous moments. I had to chuckle at Detective Parker’s office situation. I had to agree with Detective Parker when he said the following about Savannah conducting an investigation “sometimes she lets her enthusiasm overcome good sense.” I like how the author dealt with sensitive and timely topics (prejudice against LGBTQIA for example). The mystery takes a little bit of time to get started, but I did find it interesting as it delved into the graffiti community in St. Petersburg. There are a variety of suspects plus a red herring or two. I wish, though, it had been more of a challenge to identify the guilty party. I live near St. Petersburg, which is the setting for this series, so I particularly enjoyed the local color. It mentions area businesses (like Haslam’s), streets and sights. The author described flameworking in an easy to understand fashion. I enjoyed learning more about it (it has me exploring classes in my area). I did tire of the repetition of certain information (Edward is Savannah’s fiance and case details are two examples). There were a couple of unanswered questions at the end which I found frustrating. However, those points did not detract from me having a pleasurable reading experience. Down in Flames has manslaughter, mischief and mayhem wrapped up in one charming cozy mystery.
MCM917 1 days ago
In the 6th installment of The Webb's Glass mystery series, Savannah Webb is teaching a new class on glass bead making and just as the class has ended she hears a scream from Jacob. Jacob has taken on more responsibility as Amanda the assistant manager has placed her Mother in hospice. Jacob is a highly functioning autistic teenager and is the is the only witnesses to the hit and run of Nicole the bartender/manager of her boyfriend Edward's Queen's Head Pub. Who could possibly want Nicole dead to deliberately run her over? Jacob is so traumatized he becomes mute and is suffering memory loss. This was a good solid fast paced mystery with some very sad moments thrown in as people are dealing with family issues (Amanda and her Mom in Hospice). Good addition to this series.
Anonymous 2 days ago
I received a complimentary ARC of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review, and my review is voluntary. Having said that, I enjoyed this book very much. This is not the first book in a series, and I have not yet read the previous books in this series. But I will be reading them in the near future because of how much I liked this book. I did feel that I might have enjoyed this book even more if I had read the previous books first and learned a bit more about the individuals and the interactions between the characters, however, I believe that this book works well as a standalone, since the author was good to provide some basic character development within this book. The book started a little slow for me. It felt like there was a little too much focus on social issues. For example, one of the main characters has Asberger’s Syndrome, and the person who is killed is in a lesbian marriage, which causes difficulty for her wife at the hospital and with others who are intolerant of the LGBTQ community. I understand that these are real problems in today’s world, at first, it just felt like there was a LOT of that. However, these issues are part of the story, and they help to make up the fabric of the plot. Once I got further into the book, it was a very good story, and those issues helped with an understanding of why certain characters behaved the way they did. The main character in this book is Savannah, who owns a glass shop and studio, where she runs classes in glass blowing and bead making. There is a hit and run just outside of her shop while she is holding one of these classes. It turns out, that the woman who was hit and killed is the manager of her fiancé’s pub, and since she has a history of advising the local police department from an artist’s perspective, she launches into an investigation of this murder. While the police initially suspect that it was a tragic accident, Samantha is convinced that it was intentional. Throughout her investigation, Savannah delves into the St. Petersburg art scene, particularly that graffiti and building art community. Her connection to the murder investigation through her expertise in art is tenuous, at best, but it sort of makes sense and it is a slightly far-fetched excuse for her to be officially involved. I found the information about the art of glass working to be very interesting and well-researched. There is even a glossary of terms at the end of the book for those who may want to learn more about the craft. The author’s treatment of the trauma experienced by the witness (who is the character with Asberger’s), and the difficulty getting him to provide details of what he witnessed was handled extremely well. I know a few people with this condition, and it is often misunderstood, so I was pleased to see it handled so gracefully and sensitively. Overall, I would recommend this book to any cozy mystery lover. I don’t think I could place it among my very favorite books in this genre, because it felt a little bit forced and too easily wrapped up in nice little boxes with bows on them. The characters were relatable and the story was interesting, and I look forward to reading the previous 5 books in this series, as well as any further books from this author.
SunJester 8 days ago
Down in Flames, the latest in Cheryl Hollon’s Webb’s Glass Shop series will be a hot commodity for cozy readers. The story begins on fire (literally) and the action intensifies from there. Savannah Webb’s flame-working class is interrupted when a hit-and-run accident occurs right outside her shop. The victim, Nicole Borowski, is an employee of the pub owned by Savannah’s boyfriend Edward. The only eyewitness to this crime is Jacob, Savannah’s assistant/apprentice, who happens to be autistic and mute, thereby unable to provide the police with a description. When the victim dies, Savannah and the local police are on the trail of a killer. As with other books in this series, Down in Flames is a well-written, highly enjoyable journey through the world of glass making. The information presented is both fascinating and natural within the storyline. The cast of characters – Savannah, Edward, Jacob and the various students – are distinct and engaging. In addition to the mystery – which is reasonably suspenseful – the book touches on such social topics as graffiti, hospice decisions/care, and especially autism. The final reveal was a bit predictable, but the fun had along the way more than makes up for it. All told, Down in Flames is wonderful addition to the series. It is full of warmth, humor and friendship – and provides the reader not only with an intriguing mystery, but also an educational and captivating look in to the glass-making business. Note: I received an advance reader copy of Down in Flames from the Cozy Mystery Review Crew. The above is my honest review.
Karen-Hollins 15 days ago
Down in Flames is the 6th installment of The Webb's Glass mystery series by Cheryl Hollon. This was the first book I have read by this author and I really enjoyed it. The author gives you enough of the details, that you can read as a stand alone. A fatal hit-and-run in front of Savannah Webb's glass shop proves to be no accident . . . A highlight of Savannah's new glass bead workshop is a technique called flame-working, which requires the careful wielding of acetylene torches. Understandably, safety is a top priority. But as Savannah is ensuring her students' safety inside, a hit-and-run driver strikes down a pedestrian outside her shop. The victim is Nicole Borawski, the bartender/manager at the Queen's Head Pub, owned by Savannah's boyfriend Edward. It quickly becomes clear that this was no random act of vehicular manslaughter. Now the glass shop owner is all fired up to get a bead on the driver—before someone else meets a dead end . . . Protagonist Savannah is relatable, Independent and resourceful. The characters are well developed and very likeable, such as Amanda who has had to put her mum in hospice, Jacob a highly functioning autistic teenager. The author dealt very well with social aspects that face many of us today, loss, disabilities, and homosexual issues in a predominantly heterosexual community. There are plenty of twists and turns to keep me wanting to find out what will happen next. The book is engaging from start to finish. I look forward to catching up on the whole series. I highly recommend this book to all my cozy mystery friends . I requested and received an Advanced Readers Copy from the Publisher and NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
GratefulGrandma 21 days ago
Down in Flames is the sixth book in A Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery series. The mystery in the story is self-contained, but I would recommend reading this series in order. The relationships between the characters and the character development over the previous books will allow you to enjoy this story so much more. Savannah Webb has her hands full. She has a new class going on and Amanda, her store manager and teacher of beginner classes is spending more time with her mother who is in hospice. This causes Savannah to be pulled in many directions, but when Nicole, her friend and the manager at her fiancé's pub next door is run down, things get even more dicey. Once again, Savannah is hired as a consultant and the investigation begins. Savannah is a great protagonist. She is a well-developed character who is friendly, outgoing, helpful and relatable. Edward Morris, Savannah’s fiancé, is the perfect man for her. He is understanding, caring and works with Savannah when she is investigating. I love that he cooks when he is stressed and tried all kinds of crazy new recipes while dealing with trying to run his business after Nicole has been killed. Jacob is one of my favorite characters in this series. He is a high functioning autistic eighteen year old who has a support dog, Suzy. He is extremely observant and helps Savannah a lot when she is investigating. There are many other characters who are regulars in the series such as the quirky and eccentric Rosenberg twins, Officer Joy Williams and Detective Parker. There were a few instances where there was some discrimination toward homosexuality and I liked how this was handled in the story. It is at timely issue, as well as an important one. The artistic storyline was two-fold. There were the glass workshops which I always find interesting, but also the graffitti aspect with the contest and community it encompasses. The mystery and investigation take some time to get moving, but once it was determined that it was a murder, not an accident, then Savannah and Joy went full on. There were several suspects, at one time I had three different people in mind, plus a red herring or two. I did have my suspicions about the killer and that made the ending a bit anti-climactic for me, but that is my only concern. Overall, I enjoyed this story. The setting, the wonderful characters, the well-written plot, the mystery and mayhem as well as the art storylines all mesh together to form a great story. Thanks for another great entry into the Webb Glass Shop Mysteries, Cheryl Hollon. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon my request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
chefdt 23 days ago
Down In Flames is the sixth book in the A Webb’s Glass Shop Mysteries series. This is another wonderful trip to St. Petersburg Fl to visit with Samantha “Sam” Webb and learn to make glass beads. If you’re not familiar with working with glass, Ms. Hollon provides a glossary of terms for flameworking glass. She also provides several links to be able to actually see the process. The class is flameworking has just ended and as the students are heading outdoors, screams and a commotion are heard. When Sam gets outdoors she sees a white car accelerating down the street and the body of Nicole Borawski bartender and manager of Queen’s Head that is owned by Sam’s boyfriend. Nicole is rushed to the hospital where she passes away. Edward, owner of the Queen’s Head is of course devastated and vow to bring the driver to justice. In addition to the hit and run, Sam’s apprentice Jacob, an autistic eighteen-year-old who had witnessed the accident has gone mute and is in shock and unable to communicate anything that he might have seen. The police without any real proof otherwise are considering this just a terrible accident. As Sam begins to investigate she finds that somehow this is connected to someone in the graffiti community. Sam finally gathers enough facts to be able to show Detective Parker and policewoman, Joy Williams that it is in fact related to the artistic community and Sam is able to get a contract to investigate. Most of the characters from previous books are back again. Yes, the Rosenberg sisters are back to provide a few chuckles. Also, a new character is introduced, Herbert Klug. Klug is one of the new students in the flameworking class proves to be such an adept student that Sam offers him a teaching position at Webb’s Glass. This is another well written and told story with a great cast of believable and likable characters. There were plenty of twist and turns and red herrings that kept me guessing till the end. I will be looking forward to reading the next book in this informative series.
CozyOnUp 24 days ago
Savannah Webb runs the family glass shop and teaches classes in addition to being a consultant for the police department. When a friend and employee of her fiancé is run down in front of her shop, Savannah wants to find justice for her friend as well as help her autistic employee who has gone silent after seeing the accident happen right in front of him. The book covers a lot of topics from same sex marriage, to autism, to end of life hospice care, and all are covered with the normalcy that they truly are in life, but are rarely addressed in writings. Well written and a good mystery. This is the first book I have read in this series and it was a great introduction, with no gaping holes because I have not read the first five books. I now have a new series to add to my to break read list and will enjoy them.
Anonymous 24 days ago
What a wonderful book. When Someone is killed by a hit and run driver in front of Savannah’s shop something must be done. Savannah has to juggle not only her life but the life be for her friends and employee’s during difficult times in their lives. This is a great mystery that delves into the worlds of graffiti, forgery and of course glass. I felt so connected with the characters I tested up at moments, laughed and even felt pride for them! I highly recommend this book! I received an advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review!
Anonymous 24 days ago
What a wonderful book. When Someone is killed by a hit and run driver in front of Savannah’s shop something must be done. Savannah has to juggle not only her life but the life be for her friends and employee’s during difficult times in their lives. This is a great mystery that delves into the worlds of graffiti, forgery and of course glass. I felt so connected with the characters I tested up at moments, laughed and even felt pride for them! I highly recommend this book! I received an advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review!