DEATH AT HIGH TIDE
SERIES: Island Sisters Mystery #1
GENRE: Cozy Mystery
PUBLISHER: Minotaur Books
RELEASE DATE: August 18, 2020
In the first installment in the delightful Island Sisters series, two sisters inherit an old hotel in the remote Isles of Scilly off the coast of Cornwall and find it full of intrigue, danger, and romance.
When Evie Mead’s husband, Robert, suddenly drops dead of a heart attack, a mysterious note is found among his possessions. It indicates that Evie may own the rights to an old hotel on Tregarrick Rock, one of the Isles of Scilly.
Still grieving, Evie is inclined to leave the matter to the accountant to sort out. Her sister Margot, however, flown in from her glamorous career in LA, has other plans. Envisioning a luxurious weekend getaway, she goes right ahead and buys two tickets–one way–to Tregarrick.
Once at the hotel–used in its heyday to house detective novelists, and more fixer-upper than spa resort, after all–Evie and Margot attempt to get to the bottom of things. But the foul-tempered hotel owner claims he’s never met the late Robert, even after Evie finds framed photos of them–alongside Robert’s first wife–in his office. The rest of the island inhabitants, ranging from an ex-con receptionist to a vicar who communicates with cats, aren’t any easier to read.
But when a murder occurs at the hotel, and then another soon follows, frustration turns to desperation. There’s no getting off the island at high tide. And Evie and Margot, the only current visitors to Tregarrick, are suspects one and two. It falls to them to unravel secrets spanning generations–and several of their own–if they want to make it back alive.
Longer review coming later…
Bottom Line: Death at High Tide has the feel of an Agatha Christie mystery in many respects, but almost in caricature. In fact it reminds me more of an old Tim Conway / Don Knotts movie – Private Eyes – where all the characters are more than a little “off” and none are especially likable. The closed room nature of the vividly drawn setting (an eccentric Art Deco hotel on an isolated island only accessible when the tide cooperates) definitely gives the book a boost of interest, as do the closely guarded secrets of its inhabitants. While the only character I found consistently engaging was killed off in this first book, I’m still curious as to where the series will go from here. Fans of British cozies should give this one a try for sure!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 3.5 stars / liked it
Reviewer’s Note: Readers may want to be aware that this book does contain more cursing & coarse language than is typical for this genre.
Hannah Dennison was born and raised in Hampshire but spent more than two decades living in California. She has been an obituary reporter, antique dealer, private jet flight attendant and Hollywood story analyst. For many years Hannah taught mystery writing workshops at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program in Los Angeles, California.
Hannah writes the Honeychurch Hall Mysteries and the Vicky Hill Mysteries both set in the wilds of the Devonshire countryside where she now lives with her two high-spirited Hungarian Vizslas.
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