An Iowa cop confronts a murderer in Key West.
Sgt. Kitt Morgan shot the pet-store perp in self-defense, but she’s put on paid leave while the situation is evaluated. So she heads from Marshalltown, Iowa, to Key West to stay with Janell and Rex, her sister and brother-in-law, owners of The Poinsettia B&B. She arrives just after the body of one of their guests has washed up on Smathers Beach and as the local cops are sizing up the staff as suspects. There’s the gardener, the cook with special Cuban cooking secrets, the combo that plays nightly in the B&B’s cafe and the long-time permanent renter, a retired lady claiming to be a psychic. Kitt shares dances with two of the men and does the tourist bit, popping over to Fort Jefferson and the Dry Tortugas, watching the nightly parade of eccentrics on the pier at sunset, climbing the lighthouse steps and slathering on the sunscreen. Then she has the bright idea to ask the psychic if she can catch a glimmer of the murderer in her mind’s eye. This gets the poor woman killed and Kitt waylaid. Thank goodness the local cops step in and resolve matters.
Francis (Eden Palms Murder, 2008, etc.) has an insider’s knowledge of Key West (Fast Buck Freddie’s, Blue Heaven, etc.) that’s a lot more impressive than her grasp of plotting and characterization. If you come for the scenery, don’t expect to get hooked on the people or their activities.