Friday, October 7, 2016

Book Review: Karen MacInerney's 'Murder on the Rocks'

What if a big-time hotel developer threatened to take over a small-time innkeeper’s quaint New England island, and wound up dead, with the innkeeper left as the prime suspect? This is the subject of Murder on the Rocks (Midnight Ink, 2006, $13.95 paperback) by Karen MacInerney.
Natalie Barnes spent everything she had to move from Austin, Texas to Cranberry Island, Maine and open a bed and breakfast. But just as she was getting settled, Bernard Katz came in with a plan to build a monstrous resort right next to her inn, the Gray Whale. When he turned up dead, the police had every reason to suspect Natalie. With a lazy sergeant in charge of the case, it is up to Nat to find the real killer and prove her innocence. And what will become of her Inn? She gets help from her ruggedly-handsome tenant John, her young and beautiful niece Gwen, and the colorful cast of island native fishermen and merchants. But she has enemies as well, and someone wants her off the island enough to put her in harm’s way. A superb baker and now an amateur sleuth, Natalie must pull all of the pieces together to save herself from prison and the Gray Whale Inn from ruin. And while she’s doing all that, she makes sure her intriguing guests get delicious breakfast treats every morning before weaving their ways in and out of the case.

As befits a cozy mystery, Murder on the Rocks begins and ends with food. The text is filled with sensual descriptions of tasty delights, most of them made in Nat’s warmly-decorated kitchen. The details of the case are discussed over tea and scones, and cookies, and – fill in your favorite baked snack. It turns out even the hunky artist next door can cook! MacInerney’s description of the island almost makes the reader shiver, with its gray seas, rain, and craggy landscapes. Nat is a bit daring, willing to take risks to find out who the killer is. And there are plenty of viable suspects even the police do not know about, enough to keep the reader guessing until the end. And in the end—well I guess you’ll have to read it yourself to find out!

Karen MacInerney is an Austin-based writer who has produced a series of six ‘Gray Whale Inn’ mysteries, of which Murder on the Rocks is the first. She has also written seven other novels, including a shapeshifter romance trilogy and two other cozy mystery series, each of which has two books as of this writing.
I almost forgot…there are recipes in the back of the book!