Murder on the Rocks – Karen MacInerney

l don’t have a sweet tooth. Hence, I am almost always unable to connect with stories that have a great deal of sweet cooking involved. The same goes for cats by the way.

I picked up this book because it takes place in an inn called the ‘Gray Whale Inn’ and somehow I had visions of a book about an island, steamers and friendly whales cavorting just beyond the beach. Yes, I do think like that at times. In retrospect, I can’t imagine why I would do so, after all I am no longer a giddy 10-year old.

The Goodreads Blurb on the book reads as follows –

Natalie Barnes buys the Gray Whale Inn, a bed and breakfast in Maine, and publicly opposes Bernard Katz’s proposed resort development, which threatens a colony of black-chinned terns, and when Katz is found dead, Natalie must find the true killer in order to clear her own name.

First off; about Maine. Of course I have never visited this place but I have read quite a few books set in this area and in fact at one point also looked up a few blogs on Maine. Those books were psychological/ horror thrillers and described Maine as this wet, gray almost completely forested area with a lot of wildlife.  This book looks at another side of Maine,  the coastal region. Maine always comes across as a wild, almost untamed landscape and somewhere that needs exploring even today. Maybe one day I will walk through its woods. Who knows.

To move on. As can be deduced by the unnecessary meandering, this book didn’t really appeal to me. It is classified in the genre ‘cosy mystery/crime’ and I like my cosy mysteries to be set in an era where women wore dresses and men wore hats. That being said it is actually a good read (for some). The main protagonist is  smart and intelligent enough to capture the reader’s interest, and owns a dreamy bed and breakfast located on an island off the mainland. There is a suitable love interest in the story which is of course a very essential point in most ‘cosy’ reading. The villain of the piece, Katz, is the universally hated, non-environment-friendly, rich guy who wants to build a huge resort on the habitat of an endangered species of birds, in addition to gulping up the Gray Whale inn into his resort and therefore provides a perfect foil for the idyllic setting. There are also two other major characters, Katz’s son and daughter-in-law who live in a house on the same island and play into his hands from time to time. The scenery of the coast line plays an important part in the book and is described adequately enough, but it almost felt it would have been better to have a diagram. There is also Natalie’s niece Gwen, living with her, ostensibly to help her out, but actually spending her time painting and mooching around the island. The author manages to describe the island and its inhabitants in classic style and flair and weaves an image of a community that is close-knit and yet aloof in some ways. I suppose islands must lend themselves to a building a particular kind of people and community ( remember Galapagos).

Bottom line, the book was just too sweet for me. Even with the murders and the tension about the main protagonist being blamed for the crime, it just had that underlying element of ‘girliness’ to it which I was not in the mood to entertain. Maybe if I had read it in college or in the summer on a beach I would have appreciated it more. I am sure most people would love this book but it wasn’t for me.


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