Bree MacGowan has gone on vacation to Northern California where her boyfriend Beau to try to rest and recover from finding a dead body at the Inn where she worked in Kate George's first book Moonlighting in Vermont, only to have another inconvenient body fall into her life. The woman falls from a bridge Bree is photographing into a river and Bree finds it was murder when she wades in to try to rescue the woman. Soon, people are after her to discover what she saw, and what she might say to the cops. After Bree handed over all of the evidence to Sheriff Fogel, she thought she was out of the mess, not wanting to get anywhere near another murder investigation, but when Beau's cabin is ransacked and his car searched, Bree heads back to Vermont hoping to stay out of trouble. Trouble follows her, and she finds herself back in California courtesy of Moose and Hammie, two operatives with murky motives, but generally nice guys, unlike their boss. So Bree finds herself having to get involved in trying to figure out what was going on with the woman on the bridge and how she ended up dead.
California Schemin' is told from Bree's point of view and follows her as she travels from California to DC to Vermont and back. Sometimes this causes the mystery to take the back seat as Bree tries to figure out whether she can trust those around her, but I felt satisfied with the end though there are a couple of questions that I hope a future book will have the answers to. Bree's voice sets the tone of the book and makes it light and quick. I liked the way Bree interacts with Moose and Hammie. I hope that they show up in the next book because they were fun to watch interact with Bree, especially Moose.
If you liked Moonlighting in Vermont or Murder with Peacocks by Donna Andrews, I think you'll like California Schemin'.
I got a copy of this book from the author.