I've been reading this series since it started, and it's been a fun ride most of the time. While I do agree that Brown has begun to use her books as a soapbox for her views on current events--oh, well, c'est la vie. That's her choice, and it also can make the characters come more alive. I do concede that she'd be better off sharing most of her opinions in essays or a blog, however. These books are not quite the correct vehicle.
In this latest installment, Harry is once again intrigued by mysterious events, especially since her good friend Tazio Chappers seems to be the cut-and-dried murderer of a wealthy newcomer--and Harry does not for a second believe Tazio did it! I always find Harry's interest in solving crimes and her love for her friends and community endearing. The sloppiness of the plot comes from its transparency and its too-fast ending. Brown spent a lot of time on her soapbox that could perhaps have been better spent properly developing the plot and the characters in question.
I also wanted to see a bit more of the old coziness of Crozet and its townfolk. For instance, while I love Harry's new life with Fair, growing her grapes and sunflowers, not struggling quite as much for money any longer, I do miss seeing the relationship she had with Miranda, her time at the post office, etc. Seems all the characters are getting new interests that go outside of Crozet and into the wider world. Not that that's a bad thing, at all--people need to grow. But could they grow while still retaining their closeness to their home and its people?
Overall, this was a typical fun Sneaky Pie mystery, with the same loving animals, uniquely Southern name-calling (Mrs. Murphy and Pewter get into a hissy fight in the back of a car around a discussion of their nether regions, which is hilarious--I think my cats have done the same thing), and small-town community connections I've become accustomed to. Perhaps just a bit more focus on tightening the plotting of the actual mysteries in the future would be in order? This ending was not quite as dramatic as some in the past. But I'm still going to keep reading the series!