After Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, it’s on to the second cozy mystery in a row. So, let’s check the credentials:
- Lack of blood and gore? A couple of deaths, both being bashed over the head. Check!
- Specialised hobby for the sleuth? Aspiring hotelier. Check!
- Sleuth owns a cat? Check!
Looks like it’s definitely a cozy. (The cat rule is optional, by the way, but it does seal the deal.)
This is a Kindle freebie at the time of writing, and involves Natalie Barnes, who has purchased the Gray Whale Inn, a bed and breakfast on Cranberry Island in Maine. Things seem to be going well until Bernard Katz, an unscrupulous developer with plans for the island – which don’t include the Inn – turns up. Directly after an island meeting, where Katz’s plans are approved, he is found dangling off the side of a cliff with his head bashed in. Natalie is somewhat concerned, but more so when the local policeman decides that she must be the prime suspect. As she tries to stay one step ahead of both the law and the killer, can she find the murderer and stay alive in the process?
And, more importantly, is it worth your time?
This was nominated for an Agatha award – aimed at modern attempts at the “traditional” mystery. This is certainly of that genre. After the previous cozy being more of a hard-boiled (soft-boiled?) story, this is definitely in the style of the traditional mystery. Yes, it does end up with the killer trying to kill our heroine, but she had worked out who it was before they tried to kill her.
I rather enjoyed this one. It was a bright, breezy read with a real attempt to present it as a “proper” mystery. There are clues and a solution that makes sense. But…
… I finished this two days ago and if you pushed me for any details, I’d struggle to give them to you. It was fluff, albeit entertaining fluff. Certainly worth the zero pounds I invested in it – and a bit more, to be fair, but I’m loathe to shell out the amount currently being asked for book 2 in the series. This was a fun read, but a series needs a little more depth before I commit to it.
Much better than the previous cozy, but still some way from what I’m looking for in a mystery novel.
By the way, this counts as Maine in my Mystery Tour of the USA.
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I couldn’t resist a free mystery, so I downloaded it. I’ll let you know how I get on.
I’m interested in all these cats, though! One of my favourite writing guides, How NOT To Write A Novel, has a whole section on not including cats, unless the cat is vitally important to the plot, because (they contend) “characters are often at their LEAST sympathetic when cooing over a […] cat”. There’s even a special sidebar about terrible cat names to avoid at all costs.
The book is usually pretty on the nose when it comes to genre fiction, but it seems they’re being a bit overzealous here. I don’t think I’d ever include a cat in a mystery just for the sake of giving the detective a pet, and I’m a cat lover, but it looks like the cozy mystery crowd must really love them!
[…] Murder On The Rocks by Karen MacInerney […]