Death By A Honey Bee
Author Abigail Keam offers readers her first published book with “Death by a Honey Bee.” A Fayette County native and regular member of the Lexington Farmers’ Market, she is a full-time beekeeper and uses her knowledge of both her trade and of Lexington in spinning an entertaining tale of murder most unkind.
Her tale begins one afternoon when Josiah Reynolds, a 50-ish beekeeper who lives along the Kentucky River, checks on her beehives and realizes that all is not well. The furious buzzing that reaches her ears like a heat wave is cause for concern. She finds a body poised face down in one of her hives, and the angry bees are exacting their stinging revenge on the unwelcome intrusion. Unrecognizable between the dripping honey and the effects of the stings, it isn’t until later that Josiah discovers that the victim of this bizarre incident is a man she has recently had a dispute with -
as well as a general disdain for. Just as amazing to her is the fact that she is a suspect in what is being investigated as a murder. When Detective O’nan begins his questioning, and continues his focus on Josiah, an uncomfortable buzz in her brain won’t let her drop her own clandestine investigation, even after the death is ruled accidental. With this we are introduced to a cast of characters and a storyline that, like honey, is sweet and delicious.
As many places named in the book are familiar -
the Market, Ramsey’s, Al’s Bar -
Keam wisely clarifies the point that her characters “are fictional, and any similarity to any living person or physical place is just coincidence unless stated otherwise. It’s not you. So don’t go around town and brag about it.”
Savvy TV news reporter Wendy Tynes is behind her station’s sting operation to catch predators who prey on young girls -
apprehending them on camera as they show up for their rendezvous with the girls they met on the Internet. Her latest catch, Dan Mercer, is a social worker who works with troubled teens, and he denies the perceived intent of his visit. Despite evidence that further implicates him, he is released on a technicality -
one that is Wendy’s fault -
and despite losing her job because of it, she cannot let the story go. When the parent of one of Dan’s supposed victims asks for her help in getting revenge, she finds herself pulled into a situation more complicated than she could ever have imagined: in an arranged meeting Dan has set up in an effort to prove his innocence, she witnesses his murder.
And then the case of a 17-year-old girl who has gone missing comes into play. Evidence points to Dan being involved. Haunted by questions that begin to surface, Wendy begins her own investigation. Her search into his past only confuses her further – she finds his friends and roommates from college are dealing with situations as threatening to their reputations as Dan’s. As she pursues their stories, she finds herself being threatened by an Internet smear campaign and stunned by her naivety. Determined to find the truth, she delves further into the case of the missing girl and Dan’s life and is confronted with a question of forgiveness more challenging than she could fathom.