Publisher: Midnight Ink Books – To Be Released 8th May 2013
Review Copy Courtesy of Netgalley and Midnight Ink Books
With an upcoming gallery show and a popular artist visiting Cranberry Island, art is on everyone's minds--especially innkeeper Natalie Barnes. When Gwen, Natalie's niece, is invited to present her paintings at the art show, Natalie is torn between worrying about stressed out Gwen, the arrival of her future mother-in-law, and the threat of foreclosure on the Gray Whale Inn. But then Natalie finds Gwen's mentor dead. Will she uncover the truth behind this murder masterpiece?
I haven’t read any of the previous Gray Whale Inn stories but I was able to jump straight into the story and join Natalie with only a slight wobble at the beginning as what felt like a hundred characters were thrown at me in the first couple of chapters. After that though I was able to follow the immensely likeable Natalie and her friends and family as they prepared to welcome a famous artist to their island. Previous stories would probably make me appreciate some of the character development better but to be honest I never felt like I was missing out.
This was a fun, light read that just brought a smile to my face. The descriptions of food that Natalie cooks where mouth watering – and I was pleasantly surprised to find the recipes for most of them at the back of book – I will be sampling some of them soon! The story ambles along – not too slowly but never more than a brisk walk as Natalie and her fellow islanders debate suicide verses murder and gay rights all while knitting, baking and painting.
Comfortably in the cosy mystery groove which only changes towards the end when the murder is revealed when some real peril occurs for the first time. The murderer and motive are not a huge surprise but that’s almost beside the point. In fact even the murder seems like a sub-plot as I was more worried Natalie’s financial woes and her niece’s art show, than an crime. I will have a look to see if I can find any of the other books in this series as they are the literary equivalent of chocolate chip cookies and milk: sweet, tasty and familiar.
Recommended for fans of Janet Evanovich and Joanna Fluke. 8 out of 10