Title: Smugglers & Scones
Series: Moorehaven Mysteries series
By: Morgan C. Talbot
ISBN: 1940215870 (ISBN13: 9781940215877)
Author’s Website: https://www.facebook.com/MorganCTalbot/
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra
Pippa Winterbourne runs Moorehaven, the Oregon Coast’s quirkiest bed-and-breakfast and former home of world-famous mystery writer A. Raymond Moore. Guests come there to write their own crime novels. When a real-life murder takes a local’s life and washes a handsome boat pilot into her arms, Pippa is yanked into a deadly plot of her own. A tangle of secrets crashes past into present, and Pippa must uncover clues dating back to Seacrest’s Prohibition days, including a secret Moore himself hid from the world.
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.
I truly delightful introduction into the writing of Morgan C. Talbot. Smugglers & Scones captured my attention fully. It was difficult to set this mystery down and carry on with daily activity. One of the intriguing components of this story is delving into the working machinations of authors – I found this quite enjoyable. I also very much appreciated the fact that the level of language seemed to be higher than a lot of cozy mysteries that I have read. I really loved that!
Smugglers & Scones is the first in a new series (Moorehaven Mysteries) set on the Oregon coast featuring a Bed and Breakfast that was previously home to the world-famous mystery writer A. Raymond Moore. As the story progresses, we also jump between the past and present when a local Speakeasy seems to be the centre of the mystery. Very interesting I must say.
The cast of characters in this story are entertaining, from the main protagonist Pippa, Lake, all of the temporary resident authors (Paul, Skylar and Al) , Chloe, a myriad of friends and townsfolks…down to the cats Svetlana and Rex. Mind you…I certainly found Hilt (great-uncle to Pippa) one of the more entertaining characters. For example, Hilt discusses with Pippa the state of Moorehaven’s plumbing:
“A metallic bang emanated from the kitchen, and I headed that way. A clang, a thump, and a muffled Sunday swear came from under the big steel kitchen sink, in that order. “You okay, Hilt?” I called, angling toward where my great-uncle lay, denim-clad legs protruding onto an old towel. Hilt’s gravelly voice echoed from within the cabinet. “Yeah, yeah. I’ll live. But whoever designed this plumbing needs a swift kick in the Asperger’s.”
I crossed my arms. “You know this building is about a hundred and twenty years old. And didn’t you tell me that you redid all the plumbing in the kitchen, like, thirty years ago?”………
“Yeah, well, I was an idiot back then. And I’m not ashamed to admit it. Now be a doll, and hand me that rubber mallet.”
In the middle of the night, a small tourist fishing boat crashes, waking Pippa, who rushes to help and ends up saving Lake Ivens from death by drowning. Subsequently, they find out that the owner of the boat was on board as well – dead. Lake has no memory of the accident or how and why the owner of the boat was on board, let alone dead. Pippa, with the help of Lake, the visiting authors and a cast of quirky characters’ work towards solving the mystery. The clues date back to Seacrest’s Prohibition days, mixing old and new.
Not surprisingly, Lake is handsome, unattached and ordered by the police to stay in town following the wreck. With his home now destroyed, Pippa offers a room at Moorehaven and her services to monitor him throughout the night to wake him up as a result of a concussion that he sustained during the crash. Now what is a single gal (going on six years) supposed to do with a hunk at the inn but fall for him? I liked their romantic interplay and how it evolved, especially with a couple of hitches that emerge throughout the story. Wonder what will happen as the series continues?
There are certainly many more zany and interesting characters introduced into this cozy. I really liked that Pippa was invited to join the “Glaze and Gossip” group. This group had me chuckling….Tyleen and her binoculars catching everything going on in the neighbourhood (good thing too!) or Wallis – the odd and depressing town florist. Can’t wait to visit these quirky townspeople again.
Authors and friends all interact together with Pippa to solve the mystery before too many more people die (not just the owner of the boat dies). The mystery is convoluted with many twists along with some truly funny moments (and a bit of romance). I am happy to report that it was not until the very end did the identity of the killer emerge.
I can’t wait to meet the new crop of mystery writers that will be staying at Moorehaven during the next installment of the Moorehaven Mysteries series.