My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I picked this up as I like the occasional cosy murder mystery, and I wasn’t disappointed.
The book begins with an apparent suicide and continues for quite a while without any obvious murder, and although the reader realises there is something fishy going on, it’s quite some time before the characters in the book do. I felt a little as though I was marking time during this gentle introduction to the main characters, setting and social set-up, but it was so charming I didn’t mind too much.
Five friends, spurred on by the final words of their dying friend, form a social club – The Old Maids of Mercer Island – and start taking life by the short and curlies, doing all the activities they missed out on when they were younger. Then, at one of their meetings, a member drops dead and Julia Applegate, owner of the St. Claire Inn, a house with a history and more than one opinionated ghost, finds herself suspected of murder – poison in her home-made fudge, no less.
Numerous red herrings are cast in the reader’s path, though few of them look particularly tempting. The characters are really what make the story, and although I had a pretty good idea of the culprit and the reason for the murders fairly early on, it was still fun to watch the ladies work it out, and the climax, with a little help from the ghosts, is fast, a little crazy, and satisfying.
I can’t finish without mentioning Julia’s two dachshunds and the visiting Great Dane – all of them with parts to play.
This is a light hearted book, with a cast of very unlikely sleuths, a good dash of humour and a sprinkling of the supernatural. In the right mood, I would definitely read another.