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.
*May Contains Spoilers*
Morgan C. Talbot manages to keep her murder mystery lighthearted in her novel, Smugglers and Scones, where authors are characters and everyone has a good pun about mortal demise. In a town known for a famous mystery writer, it's easy to see how everyone could become a bit of an expert on the subject. Pippa, one of the newest citizens of Seacrest, is the owner of the Moorehaven B&B, tailoring to authors while offering an almost perfect writer's retreat.
Pippa Winterbourne is a woman in her early twenties in charge of a deceased mystery writer's mansion that has been converted to a bed and breakfast. She spends a lot of her time being a sounding board to authors, baking up brain food, and generally taking care of all things bed and breakfast related. She even hosts events for the authors, including book signings and meet and greets. Pippa's honesty about her former romantic relationships will provide a foundation for an emotional connection with readers, while her creative mind and intuitive nature will give her credibility as a strong female character.
Though the town has always been full of mystery (writers), the event of an actual murder throws everyone for a loop, including Pippa. When a boat crashes and Pippa is the first to arrive on scene, she saves the life of a young man named Lake. It isn't until the crash is investigated that it's revealed a murder was committed on board the destroyed ship. Though Lake is the prime suspect, something about him tells Pippa he isn't the murderer. Not able to stay out of all the hubbub, Pippa participates in trying to find the murderer and this situation of conflict allows Pippa's bravery and intelligence to shine.
The best part about this book is the mixture of humor and mortal danger. Talbot does a fantastic job in keeping the book light and fun while the threat of a killer on the loose shakes up the little town of Seacrest. The fact that the town is known for mystery writers helps add to this air of lightness. If everyone wasn't so familiar with the idea of murder, revenge, motive, and justice, then the surprising murder would have undoubtedly driven the whole town to live in fear. This familiarity with mystery and murder plots allows the people in the town to continue their lives, while their intrigue drives them to help solve the crime. Even the authors that are staying at the bed and breakfast jump in, ready and willing to live in a 'true, real life' investigation in order to gain experience that will translate to make their writing better and more believable.
Talbot also makes the murder mystery more interesting by connecting it back to the original mystery writer of Seacrest, A. Raymond Moore. The combination of past and present works to create a large web of mystery that involves various characters and their relationships with one another. Smugglers and Scones is as reader friendly as a murder mystery can be, giving readers a slight buzz of danger while evoking a few laugh out loud moments. I would definitely recommend this book to readers who enjoy easy to read, lighthearted stories, that are fun and intriguing.
Rating: 4/5 Cups