Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Jeanne Reviews: A Trip with Trouble by Diane Kelly

When Misty Murphy’s marriage ended, she decided to live her dream by purchasing a lodge in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Business has been steady, but she knows it will definitely slow in the winter months so she’s very pleased to have rented all her rooms for a week to an all-female motorcycle club. She’s a bit surprised to see what a wide variety of riders show up, from young women to grandmothers.  They’ll enjoy the fall foliage and try some of the twisty routes so beloved by bikers such as the Tail of the Dragon (318 curves in 11 miles!)

What should have been a wonderful get-away turns sour when one of the riders ends up dead.  But was it really an accident?

If you have to seriously ask yourself that question, you obviously haven’t read enough mysteries! This second in the Mountain Lodge Mystery series builds on the set-up in the first, making good use of the supporting characters we met there.  Misty is a likeable lead, and carries a lot less baggage than many cozy heroines:  her divorce was amicable, she has a good relationship with her adult sons, etc. She is also competent and organized.  I also like that she is an adult—though she does make her age (50) sometimes sound a lot older than it is. 

Kelly does a good job of giving the reader a sense of place.  She describes the setting well, name-drops and describes local attractions without sounding too much like a travel-brochure, and invokes regional delicacies (grits, biscuits and gravy, etc.) to add to the ambiance.

There’s also a hint of romance in the air as Misty and Rocky, her handyman, navigate romance as older adults.  Misty is hesitant because she doesn’t want to move out of one relationship and straight into another, even though her previous marriage had ended as friends rather than lovers. Rocky is more willing, but he also has family obligations to consider.

There are a couple of mysteries to be solved in this one, and they may or may not be related.  (No spoilers!) While I may not have been totally satisfied at some of the answers, I did like the storytelling and characters enough to give that a pass.  Animal lovers will be pleased with Rocky’s Molasses, a Bernese mountain dog.  Misty has a cat, Yeti, who takes some of the narrating chores, but is depicted as snobbish and egotistical, leaving all the charm to the canine.

Books in the series:

Getaway with Murder

A Trip with Trouble

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