A woman’s newly renovated family inn faces numerous troubles, including a couple of possible murders, in this third installment of a series.
After two years of renovations following extensive hurricane damage, Pennington Point Inn has finally reopened in Maine. Elizabeth Pennington, along with her lover/business partner (and former FBI agent), Kurt Mitchell, is ready for visitors. But nothing can prepare her for a guest’s (apparent) accidental death in the fitness center. On the upside, people are checking in, like country music star Eli Hunter and his entourage. But even with Kurt’s help, Elizabeth has a lot on her plate, from managing demanding guests to handling jobs for her interior design business back in Connecticut. And it may be too much to take on, especially with the possibility that a recent death and accident—a second body at the inn and Elizabeth’s jeep running off the road—were quite intentional. Making matters even worse are a presumed-dead killer targeting Elizabeth and unpaid property taxes threatening the inn itself. Then a mysterious woman gifts Elizabeth with a page from her grandmother’s diary. It includes instructions on locating a treasure, a riddle-laden hunt Elizabeth willingly undertakes for the adventure—not to mention the prospect of valuables to pay off debts. Goetjen (Murder Beyond the Precipice, 2018, etc.) packs her mystery novel with myriad subplots, all of which provide the story with an unwavering tempo. Many of these are engrossing, such as the kitchen’s stubborn chef and the ex-friend/inn employee with a drinking problem whom Elizabeth considers rehiring. Amid the entertaining storylines are dramatically sound ones: Elizabeth and Kurt visit his parents, and his father still blames him for his younger brother’s death years ago. While there are several concurrent mysteries, Elizabeth has minimal involvement in their resolutions, which is disappointing. It’s nevertheless understandable that she steadfastly focuses on the inn’s upkeep, and the tenacious protagonist is not above a bit of black humor: “Elizabeth thought of all the untimely deaths at the inn and wished the ME hadn’t had so much practice.”
An endlessly delightful tale and band of characters, even if the mysteries aren’t the centerpiece.