Cozy Mystery Review: Smugglers and Scones, by Morgan C. Talbot
Title: Smugglers and Scones (Moorehaven Mysteries Book 1)
Author: Morgan C. Talbot
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing, 2016
Source: I was given an electronic review copy by the author in exchange for my honest review.
Pippa Winterbourne runs Moorehaven, the Oregon Coast’s quirkiest bed-and-breakfast and former home of world-famous mystery writer A. Raymond Moore. Guests come there to write their own crime novels. When a real-life murder takes a local’s life and washes a handsome boat pilot into her arms, Pippa is yanked into a deadly plot of her own. A tangle of secrets crashes past into present, and Pippa must uncover clues dating back to Seacrest’s Prohibition days, including a secret Moore himself hid from the world.
Juggling her book-writing guests, small-town intrigues, secret club agendas, and a possibly fatal attraction, Pippa must sort fact from fiction to know who to trust before a desperate killer claims a final revenge nearly a century in the making.
When I was approached to review this first book in a new series, I knew I had to do it. A writer's retreat on the Oregon coast, with smugglers and a touch of romance? What could go wrong? Plenty, of course, but not with the book--it was a highly enjoyable read. For Pippa, though, plenty goes wrong before she reasons her way to the solution of this fun cozy.
There is a nice mix in the story of adventure (we open with a shipwreck and rescue and go on from there), romance, and thoughtful assessment of the clues, along with some crazy guesses, idiotic adventures, and finally helpful intervention by the authors who are in residence at the inn.
Now, about those authors: since I'm a mystery writer myself, I can't say that they struck me as being totally life-like. But since I myself write books with over-the-top characters, I won't kvetch. They are entertaining, and probably not a huge exaggeration of what writers can be like. And since the biggest thing in a good book is good characters, I'll take this lot. Besides, when she has those authors turning everything that happens to and around them into something in their book...yeah. Nailed it.
And what of the mystery and the writing? The mystery is well constructed, though I had an inkling well before Pippa did--I've been too well trained to see the invisible person. I had others in my sights, too, and didn't settle until very nearly the end. The writing is solid, engaging, and well-edited. I look forward to a second installment, and may check out the author's other series, as well.
If you like a good adventure with your mystery, along with a touch of romance and some complex characters, go for it. It doesn't hurt to enjoy a bit of damp coastal weather, too.
About the Author:
Morgan is an outdoorsy girl with a deep and abiding love for the natural sciences. Her degrees involve English and jujitsu. She enjoys hiking, camping, and wandering in the woods looking for the trail to the car, but there isn’t enough chocolate on the planet to bribe her into rock climbing.
When she’s not writing, she can be found making puzzles, getting lost on the way to geocaches, reading stories to her children, or taking far too many pictures of the same tree or rock.
She lives in Eastern Washington with her family.
FTC Disclosure: I was given an electronic review copy by the author, and received nothing from the writer or publisher for my honest review. The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
The 3rd book of my own occasionally over-the-top mystery series is getting closer! Be sure you are ready for the release of the Pismawallops PTA Mystery #3--pick up your copies of 1 & 2 today!
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