In this mystery series starter, a murderer is stalking Oregon’s tiny coastal town of Seacrest, and the quirky authors at Moorehaven Bed and Breakfast Inn couldn’t be happier.
Talbot’s (Nine Feet Under, 2013, etc.) delightful new series of cozy mysteries is set in the Pacific Northwest hometown of deceased crime novelist Raymond Moore. His Victorian mansion is now a B&B, owned and managed by the 20-something Pippa Winterbourne and operating under strict guidelines established by Moore’s estate. The most important one is that only writers may rent rooms there. In the middle of the night, Pippa hears a boat crashing up against the nearby cliffs; clad in her pink robe and fuzzy bunny slippers, she rushes down and rescues the young, handsome Lake Ivens from the Pacific’s turbulent waves. The next day, police discover the dead body of Cecil French in the wrecked boat, and Lake, who worked as a captain for Cecil’s charter business, is the main suspect. Unfortunately, Lake suffered a concussion and has no memory of what happened before the boat crashed. It becomes clear that it’s up to Pippa (who really, really hopes that blue-eyed Lake isn’t guilty), her team of authors, and her local cadre of grown-up gossip girls to identify the killer—but then there’s another murder. Pippa makes for a very capable narrator, as she’s funny, smart, and able to match the verbal swagger of her loquacious authors. Keeping them entertained and safe while also picking their crime-obsessed brains is a bit like herding cats, it turns out, although they can always be corralled for Pippa’s freshly baked scones. The abundance of secondary characters in this novel is initially confusing, but their backstories make compelling ingredients in the mix. Throw in a defunct Prohibition-era speak-easy, hidden in the basement of the town’s only nightclub, and the local legend of a hidden treasure, and Talbot provides more than enough puzzles to keep readers turning the pages until the very end.
Everything a cozy fan could want—a strong and sassy female protagonist, some romance, and even a couple of scone recipes as a bonus.