In a place marketing itself as a honeymoon paradise, a murder staged as a wedding makes citizens fear for the town’s reputation and their own livelihoods.
Silly as the conceit may be, the town of Honeymoon Falls believes the way to capitalize on its natural beauty is to advertise itself as the perfect honeymoon destination. It’s a sweet idea until you get down to the nuts and bolts. With street names like “Lovers’ Lane” and wedding bells decorating town signs, Honeymoon Falls can be a little much for the residents, many of whom seem to have trouble keeping their own wedding vows. Chief among these is Iris Morland, a woman well-known and well-hated for the many times she’s neglected her husband, Kenneth, for callous dalliances with other men, married and single. When Police Chief Capt. William Halsey gets word that there’s been an arrest at a large plywood wedding cake, he imagines it as another of the town’s peculiar quirks. Unfortunately, the arrest makes more sense when he sees that Iris and her former and/or present (who can keep track?) lover Connor Tarlech are now dead, posed as a bride and groom inside the cake. Halsey must bring order to a place with more characters than anyone could reasonably track. Readers might wish he’d share his list of suspects so they could have a chance to follow along, though it’s safe to assume everyone in town has been done wrong by Iris. Who didn’t do it?
Emerson’s kickoff to the Honeymoon Falls series is both surfeit and famine, providing altogether too many characters with allegedly charming quirks and not nearly enough development of people or plot.