• Hardcover: 288 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow (May 10, 2016)
From the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of Still Missing, More Than You Know, and Gossipcomes the first entry in a stylish and witty mystery series featuring a pair of unlikely investigators—a shrewd novel of manners with a dark heart of murder at its center, set in small-town New England.
Indulging their pleasure in travel and new experiences, recently retired private school head Maggie Detweiler and her old friend, socialite Hope Babbin, are heading to Maine. The trip—to attend a weeklong master cooking class at the picturesque Victorian-era Oquossoc Mountain Inn—is an experiment to test their compatibility for future expeditions.
Hope and Maggie have barely finished their first aperitifs when the inn’s tranquility is shattered by the arrival of Alexander and Lisa Antippas and Lisa’s actress sister, Glory. Imperious and rude, these Hollywood one-percenters quickly turn the inn upside-down with their demanding behavior, igniting a flurry of speculation and gossip among staff and guests alike.
But the disruption soon turns deadly. After a suspicious late-night fire is brought under control, Alex’s charred body is found in the ashes. Enter the town’s deputy sheriff, Buster Babbin, Hope’s long-estranged son and Maggie’s former student. A man who’s finally found his footing in life, Buster needs a win. But he’s quickly pushed aside by the “big boys,” senior law enforcement and high-powered state’s attorneys who swoop in to make a quick arrest.
Maggie knows that Buster has his deficits and his strengths. She also knows that justice does not always prevail—and that the difference between conviction and exoneration too often depends on lazy police work and the ambitions of prosecutors. She knows too, after a lifetime of observing human nature, that you have a great advantage in doing the right thing if you don’t care who gets the credit or whom you annoy.
Feeling that justice could use a helping hand--as could the deputy sheriff—Maggie and Hope decide that two women of experience equipped with healthy curiosity, plenty of common sense, and a cheerfully cynical sense of humor have a useful role to play in uncovering the truth.
Review: This is a book that you shouldn't judge by its cover. It has a dark slightly menacing cover, when in reality it is a cozy mystery, and I absolutely love cozy mysteries.
It isn't a typical cozy, because it doesn't have the usual small town where the amateur sleuth lives and works (usually with a quirky business). In this one we have two retirees, Maggie and Hope. This is likely a start of a new series, and I think it is going to be a good one. I loved Hope's son Buster, who is a sort of bumbling deputy sheriff.
It was a fun, modern sort of cozy. There was only one thing that bugged me. The chef, Sarah is from Washington County in Pennsylvania. I'm from that county. I loved the references to Kennywood, but when someone said, have you been to the roller rink in Moon Twp, I went, WTF. This was a little slip in research that only readers from the area would know, and I happen to be one of those readers. Moon Twp is near Pittsburgh International Airport, and unless which can be at least 30 minutes from some parts of Washington County, and closer to an hour or more from others depending on where you are driving from, so mentioning a roller rink is really a laughable thing.
I did enjoy the book and I hope we get to spend time with Maggie and Hope again
Rating: 4 flowers
Beth Gutcheon is the critically acclaimed author of eight previous novels: The New Girls, Still Missing, Domestic Pleasures, Saying Grace, Five Fortunes, More Than You Know, Leeway Cottage, and Good-bye and Amen. She is the writer of several film scripts, including the Academy-Award nominee The Children of Theatre Street. She lives in New York City.
Find out more about Beth at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.