From the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of Still Missing, More Than You Know, and Gossip comes the first entry in a stylish and witty mystery series featuring a pair of unlikely investigators—a shrewd novel of manners with a dark heart of murder at its center, set in small-town New England.
Indulging their pleasure in travel and new experiences, recently retired private school head Maggie Detweiler and her old friend, socialite Hope Babbin, are heading to Maine. The trip—to attend a weeklong master cooking class at the picturesque Victorian-era Oquossoc Mountain Inn—is an experiment to test their compatibility for future expeditions.
Hope and Maggie have barely finished their first aperitifs when the inn’s tranquility is shattered by the arrival of Alexander and Lisa Antippas and Lisa’s actress sister, Glory. Imperious and rude, these Hollywood one-percenters quickly turn the inn upside-down with their demanding behavior, igniting a flurry of speculation and gossip among staff and guests alike.
But the disruption soon turns deadly. After a suspicious late-night fire is brought under control, Alex’s charred body is found in the ashes. Enter the town’s deputy sheriff, Buster Babbin, Hope’s long-estranged son and Maggie’s former student. A man who’s finally found his footing in life, Buster needs a win. But he’s quickly pushed aside by the “big boys,” senior law enforcement and high-powered state’s attorneys who swoop in to make a quick arrest.
Maggie knows that Buster has his deficits and his strengths. She also knows that justice does not always prevail—and that the difference between conviction and exoneration too often depends on lazy police work and the ambitions of prosecutors. She knows too, after a lifetime of observing human nature, that you have a great advantage in doing the right thing if you don’t care who gets the credit or whom you annoy.
Feeling that justice could use a helping handas could the deputy sheriff—Maggie and Hope decide that two women of experience equipped with healthy curiosity, plenty of common sense, and a cheerfully cynical sense of humor have a useful role to play in uncovering the truth.
|Product dimensions:||6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
Beth Gutcheon is the critically acclaimed author of eight previous novels: The New Girls, Still Missing, Domestic Pleasures, Saying Grace, Five Fortunes, More Than You Know, Leeway Cottage, and Good-bye and Amen. She is the writer of several film scripts, including the Academy-Award nominee The Children of Theatre Street. She lives in New York City.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings Two friends go on vacation and end up in the middle of a murder/crime scene and become quite intrigued to help out the local jurisdiction with their investigation - it helps that one of them is the mother of the local policeman. The location of this story was great. I loved the secluded inn in a small town in Maine. I read very few books that take place in Maine and have never travelled there, so reading a book set there is always fun. For me this was the highlight of the book. What didn't work for me was the pacing and plot. This was a shorter book, with less than 300 pages and it moved very slow. I didn't enjoy the pace at all and wanted things to move a little more swiftly.
I nearly always enjoy a cozy mystery series that features senior sleuths so Death at Breakfast had a head start with me from the beginning. I also enjoyed the setting in a bed and breakfast because such a location allows for a diverse cast of characters rather than the usual somebody-in-this-small-town-must-be-the-killer scenario and it accommodates a group of people who are mostly strangers to each other. Those points open up the solution to the crime to a wide range of possibilities. Another aspect of the story that works well is that the murder doesn't occur until well into the book. Normally, I prefer it to happen early on but, in this case, the delay gives the reader the opportunity to get to know the B&B guests and staff as well as a few townspeople so I really didn't mind. Maggie Detweiler and Hope Babbin are a pair of sleuths I'm happy to have met. Intelligent and friendly, they're using this trip to Maine to see if they can stand each other well enough to do some traveling together, a terrific idea. They're not snoopy, either, just well-suited to think about various potential clues and come to a rational conclusion. Very appealing sleuths, indeed. I also liked deputy sheriff Buster Babbin, Hope's son, who's definitely conflicted in his feelings about his mother and who suffers from a lack of self-confidence; watching some of those issues get worked out was a worthy side trail. I have to admit that I figured out the general solution to who hated the obnoxious Alexander enough to kill him in a rather gruesome manner fairly early but not the details so the actual denouement held some surprises for me. I suspect each succeeding entry in the series will be tighter and I'm hoping this will become a long run.
I enjoyed my reading experience with this book so much! It was such a fun mystery and I found myself just caught within the pages the entire time. From the very beginning, the author brought this story to life and I couldn't help but just settle in to the pages. What I loved about this book so much is that there was just this feeling of humor present throughout the entire book- it felt a bit playful at times which isn't something that you always see in a mystery. It was just a fun book to read plain and simple! The characters were great as well which made the book even better. The two main characters were Hope and Maggie who are both retired and traveling together for the first time to see if they make good traveling companions. I absolutely adored the fact that the main characters in this book were older- too often it seems that all of the characters in every book I read are in their early twenties or younger. With older characters you get a different perspective then you would with someone that is younger. I really thought that these two ladies just made the book that much better. I am really looking forward to reading more books in this series based off of their characters alone. The mystery portion of this book was done quite well. I guessed at one point early on who it might be but was never sure until the very end because the author did such a good job of keeping me guessing. I loved the fact that at certain points in the book I suspected almost every single character. When an author can do that, it is a sign of a great book in my opinion. I also really appreciated how easily this author was able to just pull me in. This was a book that I took my time with as I just didn't want to see it end. I enjoyed getting to know all of the different characters and I really enjoyed trying to figure the mystery out. But my absolute favorite thing about this book was the descriptions of the inn where they were all staying. I wanted to stay there myself! It just seemed so cozy and inviting- the author was able to bring it all to life for me. I found myself wishing that I could go and visit myself! The ending of this book was perfect. I honestly don't think that the author could have ended it any better. I was also left excited because it seemed pretty clear that there is going to be a second book. I can't wait! Overall, I really enjoyed my entire reading experience with this book. I found it to be such a pleasant read and I was truly sad to see it end. With a great cast of characters that I couldn't help but love, I was left very excited about this series! I will definitely be reading the second book as soon as I can get my hands on it. I can easily recommend this book to other mystery lovers. I think fans of Louise Penny should check this author out as this book had a similar vibe with a strong focus on characters. Easily recommended! Bottom Line: Such a great beginning to this new series- I can't wait for more! Disclosure: I received a copy of this book thanks to the publisher as part of a TLC book tour.