The murder in question does not happen until around page 80 and the rest of the action is slow to unfold. But A.H. Gabhart does have strong character development in "Murder Comes by Mail." Readers need not have read the first book in the "Hidden Springs" series to easily follow the mystery. The characters stand on their own for the most part and are easy to invest in, although some important descriptors are not thrown in until halfway through the book. The book really is more of a slice of life story as lead character Michael interacts with friends and family, and deals with one murder after another. But Gabhart fails to create a solid build up of clues. The pieces that are given really have nothing to do with the conclusion. Michael's possible love interest also feels thrown in, perhaps as a set up for a more solid character arc in future books. And what little faith elements Gabhart included were very cliche and lacked any depth. Still, I did enjoy the book, so I gave it four stars in spite of my nit picking critique. As a side note for more sensitive, conservative readers, one minor character is a female pastor, but that does not affect the story.
*Disclaimer: I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review.