The latest atmospheric and suspenseful series mystery from Goetjen (Murder on the Precipice, 2017), set on the fogbound coast of Maine.
Elizabeth Pennington has struck out on her own and is working long hours to establish her interior-design practice in Connecticut. Seeking a quick respite, she heads to her old stomping grounds in Maine for a friend’s wedding, hoping also to connect with her old friend Rashelle Harper. But there’s trouble afoot at the Inn at Boothbay Harbor (sometimes confused with another establishment, the Boothbay Inn): The mistress of the inn, Lucretia Livingston, has gone missing, and it appears that Lucretia’s seldom-seen husband, Jonathon Sterling, may be a psychopath. Among the large cast of characters are a mysterious guest named Ben from Montana and Ana, Lucretia’s longtime friend. Then the wedding doesn’t happen, because the groom disappears. Elizabeth, accompanied by her faithful dog, Buddy, is naturally nosy, which gets her into one jam after another. The inn and its grounds are predictably spooky, and the evil ways of one major character don’t disappoint. The ending ties up some of the story’s loose ends—with some knots looser than others. Goetjen is a competent writer who keeps things moving along, throwing in hints of the preternatural that add to the overall ambiance. Elizabeth is shown to be a gutsy heroine, although some readers may feel that she spends too much time and energy bemoaning her stalled love life and the events of the previous novel. Some connections between characters seem strained or too pat, and some things are never fully explained; for example, who locks Rashelle in a wine cellar in Chapter 3?
An untidy mystery novel but one worth a read.