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Different Paths: A Stella Crown Mystery    by Judy Clemens Amazon.com order for
Different Paths
by Judy Clemens
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Stella Crown is back! I, for one, am pleased. I admire Stella's spunk and determination to run a dairy farm herself with only one full-time employee and a part-timer. In Different Paths, Stella is hobbled with a broken foot (a pregnant cow stepped on it). This does not stop her from getting involved when strange occurrences begin, yet accounts for some very good chuckles. Suffering at the moment from a sprained ankle, I can empathize.

Her friend and veterinarian is car-jacked and her working vehicle trashed. A truck driver, a new minister and a personal trainer are assaulted all of them women. Stella is convinced that someone with a deep grudge against women is responsible. Someone who doesn't like women taking over what they consider to be men's work. She fears for her own livelihood dairy farming, run by two women. Then Stella's boyfriend Nick arrives from Virginia as reinforcement against attacks. How much protection he can provide is unknown, since he has been newly diagnosed with MS.

In the fifth of this delightful series, author Judy Clemens has honed her skills with words even more and produced a believable tale, with characters who seem as though they could be next door neighbors. I like the fact that Stella is shown with all her grumpiness, and that her friends accept it as just being her. She has her own standards that rarely meet her expectations. She presents as very real. Different Paths is a good read.

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