Mary Nealy’s Bury the Lead is only worth reading if you need a laugh. If you don’t need a chuckle or a grin, don’t bother.

Poor Carrie inherits her grandmother’s house. It would be fine if it weren’t filled with clutter.

And mice.

But at least she finds a job as journalist at the local paper. Well, she IS the local paper.

The story of the romance that develops between the mouse-phobic Carrie and Nick, the man who’s helping her on the fix-up, is both fun and mysterious. Who killed the dead guy in the closet? And where is the town’s mascot? (A mouse, naturally.)

Nealy’s writing is light and joyful, quick and pleasurable. I could picture it as a Hallmark movie, with a family enjoying it together, getting in some good giggling family memories.

She populates the town of Melnick, Nebraska with sweet and quirky characters that would be fun to have lunch with. But my very favorite part of this novel is the way Nick is alternately slack-jawed at Carrie’s antics and moved to action by them. He can’t decide whether to play knight in shining armor or let her handle things on her own, since she’s such a strong woman.

Who, fortunately for Nick, just can’t handle mice.