Series: Mystery in the Islands #2
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Published by Berkley on 1 October 2013
Reading Challenges: 2013 In Uniform Challenge
Charlie Barker moved to the St Croix with his wife, Mira, and family ten years ago but the marriage fell apart and his wife took the kids when she left. Now she has lured him back to the island with the promise that he can see his children. Charlie however is wary as he knows she is up to something. This isn’t a traditional cozy as there is no whodunnit. Instead you have a general feeling that something is going to go awry and a desire to work out what Mira is plotting.Charlie is a fairly clueless chap but I ended up cheering for him as his ex was just so calculating. Mira ended up marrying a Muslim businessman on a nearby island but made Charlie think that his kids were stuck in America. She goes out of her way to humiliate Charlie and to be honest I was really hoping she would get her comeuppance.
The star of this novel is not Charlie or any other human but rather the island. Hale’s research has allowed the island to come to life in her hands with taxi drivers who bet amongst a brood of chooks and a couple of shady characters that ‘liberate’ coconuts. Quite a bit of history is included which makes for a richer tale.
The tale meanders along without any great urgency but something quicker probably wouldn’t suits the island setting. Hale manages to pull the seemingly different strands of the plot together well and I found the denouement quite satisfying. I wish there was a little more focus on the plot throughout though as so much energy was expended on the setting and characters.
It is definitely worth a read but be warned that it is surprisingly dense. You will have to concentrate to see how everything fits together and absorb all the detail.