Cozy mystery book club members try their hands at solving a real-life murder.
Mackenzie Almeida is on her way home from a book club meeting when she stumbles over the body of Jake Lacey. Mac’s boyfriend, baker Tim Brunelle, appears moments before the police arrive, and new police chief Victoria Laitinen, her old high school classmate, is suspicious when Mac admits to having had words with Jake over a bad roofing job earlier in the day. Even worse, the murder weapon, a knife plunged into Jake’s neck, appears to be her half brother Derrick’s custom fishing knife. Although Mac doesn’t mention this last fact to Victoria, she soon realizes that she may have to plow any skills she picked up from reading mysteries into solving one. When Derrick proves elusive, she tries to track him down despite the problems she’s having at her bike shop. Mechanic Orlean Brown is showing up late or not at all, and Derrick, who helps out, is still missing. So her grandmother offers to work in the shop while she’s out hunting for clues. Her book club friends pitch in, using group email to keep in touch. The amateurs turn up a young woman who looked happy before Jake’s murder and sad afterward along with a high-powered real estate agent from California Mac overhears talking about a mysterious deal. But the summer season brings so many strangers to Cape Cod that it’s hard to sift through them for Jake’s killer. Derrick finally turns up after fighting a losing battle with his alcoholism, but Mac, certain that he’s innocent, continues to investigate, earning several death threats and the realization that finding a killer is a lot harder than it appears in her books.
An unremarkable kickoff to a new series by Day, who writes other cozies under several bylines (Death Over Easy, 2018, etc.). Pleasant characters and local color just aren’t enough.