My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I met Ms. Logan at the Ohioana Book Festival and got this series debut for Mom for Mother's Day (don't worry, she assumes I read the books before I give them away because I can't help myself!). I'm always a bit iffy on cozies because mostly I only like the ones where the amateur sleuth is on the good side of the cops and this is sort of that.
I wasn't sure I was going to like it at first because the protagonist, Bea, is rather prickly but since it opens in a courtroom where she's in a fight with two neighbors I guess that's to be expected. Bea is angry with the woman next door, Chandra, the hippie Earth Mother type, because her cat Jerry Garcia keeps peeing in the flower beds of Bea's new B&B named Bea & Bees (apparently she wants to get into bee keeping). Chandra and Kate, who owns a winery, are on the outs because of Chandra's loud rituals and stinky herbal cures and Kate playing opera loudly. Kate and Bea don't get along because Kate tried to stop the B&B because of the traffic (which seems rather weak because Put-In-Bay is an island that is depends on tourism and seriously how much traffic can one B&B generate, which I think is actually Bea's point). Anyhow the judge finds a way to deal with them and help his wife at the same time: she's the librarian about to lose a grant because they no longer have a book group in the library. They're sentenced to be the book group and learn to get along.
It's an unlikely beginning and seems doomed to failure even with the addition of Luella who actually wants to be in a book group. They're reading, in theory, Christie's Murder on the Orient Express but most of them aren't doing the reading. They aren't getting along. In fact they only agree on one thing: The Orient express Chinese restaurant makes fantastic orange/peanut chicken. They head there in a surprise spring snow storm and find Peter dead.
They all end up at Bea's B&B afterwards and the snow really starts. The Ferry is down so the killer is stuck on the island. And the power is out most places but Bea has fireplaces and a generator in her B&B which begins to fill up with tons of people (so many by the end you have to wonder just how enormous this place is). There's Amanda her one lone guest before the storm, Hank, the police chief (who has ties to one of the women), Ted who owns cottages and other properties, including Chan's place, Marisha a wealthy tourist, and the mother of the baker Bea plans to use. More show up as they go and of course, they're all suspects (except the baker and Hank).
There were nice twists and turns and the ladies are all interesting. Even Bea is a bit of mystery as to why she left NYC for Put-In-Bay and how she could afford such a big old Victorian and have the money to renovate it and why she seems to have a real literary bent (some are revealed others might be revealed in the sequels, I suppose). It helped knowing some of that since Bea seems rather unprepared for the realities of owning a B&B, like actually cooking anything.
I'm curious to see where this series leads. It was fun.
View all my reviews