I like discovering new series and this is one I have wanted to read for a while now. This is the only realtor mystery series out, at least that I know of. It is based in a small Maine harbor town in the dead of winter. The cover shows the abandoned lighthouse where death struck on the icy rocks. Bundle up, it is a chilling read!
Copyright: April 2013 (Midnight Ink) 336 pgs
Series: 4th in Darby Farr Mysteries
Sensuality: Mild references
Mystery Sub-genre: Amateur Sleuth
Main Characters: Darby Farr, Real Estate Agent
Setting: Modern day, Hurricane Harbor Maine
Obtained Through: Publisher
Darby returns to her hometown of Hurricane Harbor in Maine for her best friend's wedding. She arrives in town as Lorraine Delvecchio's body is discovered tangled in a lobster trap. Her daily walk out to the abandoned lighthouse on the Manatuck Breakwater turned deadly. Everyone believes that Lorraine must have slipped on the ice and fallen into the brink where the icy water quickly finished her. But Chief Charles Dupont doesn't believe it was an accident and enlists Darby's aid to ask a few questions. Darby discovers that Lorraine had a perfect memory, which she may have used to obtain money through blackmail. On a personal note, Darby discovers a small box that had once belonged to her mother and tries to unravel some mysterious family history.
Darby is level headed and a savvy business person. She is also from Japanese/American heritage which plays a stronger role in this book as she digs into her family history. Darby's boyfriend, journalist Miles Porter, comes for a visit and to attend Tina's wedding. Since this was my first book in the series, I didn't get much of an impression of Miles other than the character has potential. Darby's best friend, Tina, is a fiery red-head that adds to the story. Chief Charles Dupont, working his last year before retiring, is a warm and unexpected character with some depth that lends a touch of humanity and forgiveness to the story. Bitsy Carmichael, the woman who returns to Hurricane Harbor after having run off years earlier is a surprise breakout character.
The setting presents a frozen backdrop for this story. It is stark and unforgiving, as if reflecting Lorraine Delvecchio's attitude. But all is not frozen as events unfold. The bleak setting provides a counter point to much of the events.
The suspects are slowly revealed as Darby unveils more of Lorraine Delvecchio's victims. There is a good bit going on besides Darby investigating. There is Tina's wedding that Darby is participating in, the box that Darby finds from her mother and trying to decipher the items within, Miles comes for a visit, and the events in Chief Dupont's life that are changing. The pacing begins to slow in a few spots, but quickly get back on track. The specific killer is not obvious, which lends some tension at the climax.
There are actually two climatic scenes, because one involves Darby's mother's box and repercussions from what Darby finds inside, and the second climax involves who killed Lorraine. Both climaxes were realistic, exciting, and dangerous, thus overall well done. The wrap-up is smooth and natural. The overall is a well crafted and interesting mystery with some good, suspenseful moments.
Rating: Good - A fun mystery with interesting twists, highlighted by an original main character.
Here is a short video of a Maine lighthouse in winter for the isolated and cold setting book.