Series: A Tourist Trap Mystery #1
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Published by Kensington on 17 April 2014
Reading Challenges: 2014 Mid Year COYER
Jill Gardener moved to the small Californian town of South Cove after one long conversation with Miss Emily. When Miss Emily dies unexpectedly after bullying from the council, Jill suspects foul play. She ought to leave the investigating to cop Greg King but can’t help sticking her nose in.
Cozy mysteries live and die by how the lead character is depicted. Thankfully Jill is quite an engaging character who shows tenacity and loyalty throughout the novel. Her busy life gets far more complicated when she has to squeeze in a massive house renovation to get it up to code. My estimation of her rose when she didn’t even consider the shady business man’s offer to sell for an obscene amount of money as her flagging business could have used the cash injection.
Greg remains the one constant in her life during this difficult time and I enjoyed watching them get to know each other. Unfortunately Greg’s marital status which was unresolved for way too long and while it might have been an attempt to build chemistry, it fell flat for me. One other discordant note was the disappearance of Jill’s best friend Amy. The fact the police didn’t chase up all possible leads was a bit odd as Greg is presented as quite competent.
The tight deadlines imposed on Jill helped keep the plot bubbling along. There were some nicely executed red herrings but the three new sources of income (all of which could have been the killer’s motive) were a little bit much. One could have been removed entirely without the plot suffering overall.
This was a quick but ultimately satisfying novel. Well worth a shot.