Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Brush with Death (Gray Whale Inn Series #5)

Brush with Death (Gray Whale Inn Series #5)

4.1 9
by Karen MacInerney

See All Formats & Editions

For Natalie Barnes, the flurry of trendy artists setting up shop on Cranberry Island promises to be the perfect recipe for relaxing and enjoying the holiday season. But Natalie’s good luck is turning out to be a stroke of misfortune for her niece, Gwen. The local gallery’s new owner hates Gwen’s paintings, and her mentor Fernand is too distracted


For Natalie Barnes, the flurry of trendy artists setting up shop on Cranberry Island promises to be the perfect recipe for relaxing and enjoying the holiday season. But Natalie’s good luck is turning out to be a stroke of misfortune for her niece, Gwen. The local gallery’s new owner hates Gwen’s paintings, and her mentor Fernand is too distracted by a competing artist to help Gwen improve her style. When Natalie finds Fernand dead, seemingly the victim of suicide, she can’t believe someone who had so much joy and success in his life would kill himself. Finding clues at Fernand’s home that support her suspicion of murder, Natalie’s hunt for answers places her next on the killer’s list. Will she be able to solve this murder masterpiece before it’s too late?


—Library Journal

Kirkus Reviews

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Multiple problems plague innkeeper Natalie Barnes of Cranberry Island, Maine, in MacInerney’s engaging third Gray Whale Inn mystery (after 2010’s Berried to the Hilt). A lawyer disappears with the money slated for Natalie’s mortgage, mutilated dolls turn up on her property, and an allergic reaction to her heirloom engagement ring bodes ill for her dealings with her fiancé and her future mother-in-law. Fernand LaChaise, the gay mentor of her artist niece Gwen, is found with his wrists slit; but it seems unlikely that he committed suicide, given the happy, albeit secret, relationship with his partner and the more turbulent conflict with his sister. The arrival of a strangely reclusive New York artist and an attack on Gwen complicate matters. While the author struggles at times to balance serious issues with cozy concerns such as cooking, Natalie’s loyalty to her family and friends will resonate with the reader. Agent: Jessica Faust, BookEnds. (May)
Library Journal
A welcome return to Maine's Cranberry Island and its sleuthing innkeeper, Natalie Barnes (after Berried to the Hilt). In her fifth cozy installment, Natalie ponders the suspicious death of a local artist. Recipes included.
Kirkus Reviews
An innkeeper's efforts to help her artistic niece prove almost the death of her. The worst problems Natalie Barnes thinks she's facing are the way her engagement ring is irritating her finger and the impending visit of her mother-in-law-to-be. But then disaster strikes Maine's Cranberry Island. Natalie gets notice that the mortgage on her Gray Whale Inn is in arrears, even though she'd provided a local lawyer with the payments. Worse, she finds her niece Gwen's gay mentor, Fernand, with his wrist slashed after a big party at his house. The party had been notable for its undercurrents, especially those triggered by the arrival of a hot new artist and an overbearing agent who barely allows her to speak a word. Both Fernand's partner and his sister turn up at the inn soon after his death. Although the police write it off as a suicide, both Gwen and Natalie suspect murder. After Natalie talks to her police officer fiance, John, who was off-island at the time of the death, he persuades his colleagues to take another look. Meantime, John's mother, Catherine, arrives for her expected visit, making life even more stressful for Natalie as she struggles to support Gwen, who's put aside her beautiful watercolors in favor of large oils that the sponsor of her show insists will sell better. Despite these distractions, Natalie, who's had her share of experience tracking down killers (Berried to the Hilt, 2010, etc.), continues to hunt for the very clues that will put her in the greatest danger. The fifth Gray Whale adventure provides complex characters, stunning scenery and many recipes. There's also an easily solved mystery.

Product Details

Llewellyn Worldwide, LTD.
Publication date:
Gray Whale Inn Series , #5
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

Read an Excerpt

Please browse inside this title with the preview below.

Meet the Author

Critically acclaimed author Karen MacInerney also teaches writers' workshops and drives a mean carpool. Her book Murder on the Rocks was selected as an Agatha nominee for Best First Novel. When she's not writing or chauffeuring children, she loves to read, drink coffee, attempt unusual recipes, and hit the local hike-and-bike trail. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband, two children, and a rabbit named Bunny, and escapes to Maine as often as possible.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Brush with Death 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Michelle1948 More than 1 year ago
I have read these out of order but I love them just the same! Each story is so well written and descriptive that I felt like I was in the snow with the main character as she was hunting for her friend's killer. Great characters, a great story, a really good cozy. Cuddle up for a good read!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good easy read especially when sitting on the Maine coast. Good characters, well written.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The 5th Gray Whale Inn book is as entertaining as the previous 4 with a good story, good characters and great recipes. Hopefully #6 will be published faster than #5 was. A good read.
mysteryloverVP More than 1 year ago
I have read the first four books in this series and they were all terrific. For some one who likes light mysteries this is a perfect book. Light but kept your interest
Olivia_B More than 1 year ago
Another delicious Gray Whale Inn Mystery! On Cranberry Island, everyone has a secret, and some are worth killing to protect. Between family drama, a financial crisis, and an unexpected visit from the future mother-in-law, innkeeper Natalie Barnes unravel's the island quirky cast of residents' secrets in order to solve the mystery her friend's death and catch the killer before he strikes again.  Even if you're new to the Gray Whale Inn series, Brush with Death is the perfect mystery to read while wrapped in a blanket with a cup of cocoa in hand. Once you reach the satisfying conclusion, you'll have to try out some of the creative recipes included with the book!
AliciaTN1 More than 1 year ago
It's December and Natalie is enjoying a bit of quiet time at the Gray Whale Inn as her niece, Gwen, is preparingfor her upcoming art show. What should be a peaceful time is quickly turning stressful as Natalie learns that she could lose the Inn due to a shady lawyer that handled her refinancing.  Then Gwen's mentor, Fernand, is found dead of an apparent suicide after a party honoring an artist visiting the island and Gwen begs Natalie to help discover the truth.  To further add to her stress, Catherine, her future mother-in-law, has decided to visit for Christmas and someone seems to be targeting the Inn with odd acts of vandalism.  Soon Natalie and her fiance, John, are working together to save the Inn and learn the truth not only regarding Fernand's death but also the mysterious artist visiting Cranberry Island and her obnoxious agent.   I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more of her work.  Even though I haven't read many of the previous books in the series, Karen MacInerney provided enough background that the residents didn't seem like strangers to me but like old friends.  I also appreciated her description of the island and its beauty.  The book moves at a great pace.  My only complaint is that once I started it, I didn't want to put it down. I will be trying some of the recipes that are included in the book.  I like the fact that the recipes are at the end of the book rather than located between chapter.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dollycas More than 1 year ago
Winter on Cranberry Island should be a time for Natalie to relax but her niece is preparing to show her paintings at an art show, her future mother-in-law is coming to visit and she has just received a foreclosure notice for the Inn. Then she finds her niece’s mentor dead and when she realizes he really didn’t commit suicide she puts herself right in the line of fire as she tries to uncover the truth. After just losing our house to foreclosure this one started out hitting a little close to home but as I continued to read Natalie’s circumstances were totally different than ours so I was able to get right past it and enjoy the splendor of Cranberry Island and its residents. But the financial woes of another character did break my heart. The mystery had more than a few twists and kept me enthralled to the final page. John was away from the island when the murder occurred so Natalie was sleuthing on her own. Gwen was dealing with conflicting advice from Natalie and the gallery owner while trying to deal with her mentor’s death. John’s mother grew by leaps and bounds for me in this installment. Plus Natalie’s way with food and her ability to just whip something up had me drooling. The author pulls us right into the story. We can feel the frigid air and the freezing water, smell the muffins baking and picture Gwen’s masterpieces with such ease. If this is a new series for you start at the beginning with Murder on the Rocks  but if you are like me you have been waiting for this installment you will devour this story.  Karen MacInerney has exceeded my expectations. I can’t wait to return to Cranberry Island again soon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Why do so many Cozy mysteries have to have a Homosexual person in them? I want a Cozy book that I and my daughter can read that does not have an agenda. I am so tired of trying so hard to find a good clean book.