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
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