Kite Shop Mystery, Book #3
By Clover Tate
Author Website: angelamsanders(.)com
Kite shop owner Emmy Adler feels an ill wind blowing through Rock Point when a murder hits close to home in the third Kite Shop mystery.
It’s nothing but blue skies ahead for Rock Point kite shop owner Emmy Adler. Strings Attached is thriving—even winning attention from a big-city reporter who wants to interview Emmy—and Emmy’s relationship with her main competitor, Jack Sullivan, is going strong.
But Emmy’s sunny outlook turns stormy when she finds a woman dead on the floor of the Strings Attached. When the sheriff eyes Jack as the main suspect after his kite charm turns up near the body, Emmy strikes up an investigation of her own. With Strings Attached’s safety breached and Jack’s whole family tangled up in the case, Emmy’s determined to track down the real killer before all her dreams get blown off course.
I thoroughly enjoyed this cozy mystery. It is 3rd in the series, and can be read as a standalone. After reading this, I want to read the others. The characters are interesting. The setting, Rock Point Oregon, sounds beautiful; the mystery is detailed and finely executed. I had no idea how much goes into designing a kite that looks amazing and flies superbly, much less how much goes into the actual cutting and sewing.
Emmy is living her dream, in a beautiful old home that houses Strings Attached, her kite shop, on the first floor, and her apartment on the second floor. She may not have furniture, but she has a view of the ocean that is the envy of this reader. The shop is successful for the brief time it has been open. She has known Jack for about six months. Jack is living his dream as the owner of his family business, Sullivan’s Kites. He isn’t Emmy’s competitor; much of what he sells are basic kite kits, or standard kites.
Emmy is expecting a magazine reporter who will interview her about her shop. It is a rainy morning, and there is a leak that she hopes she can afford to repair. Then there is The Scream. Emmy races down the steps, where Stella, her part time assistant, full-time friend, and a retired school teacher is a wreck. Stella found the body of a woman around the corner from the cash register when she arrived to work. Neither of them recognize the woman, but they can tell she was strangled, and immediately called the police.And the weird thing? Both front and back doors are bolted. They later learn the front door lock was picked from the outside, but there is no evidence of anyone actually leaving the shop – and how many burglars would lock it up again?
There is no ID on the woman, only a note in her handbag with the location of Emmy’s shop and time of the meeting with Emmy has with the journalist. They assume it was the journalist pending the medical examiner’s report and their investigation.
Some of Jack’s family is in town to visit him and meet Emmy, then go to the funeral of his Uncle Gus the next day. Included is his twin sister Claire, his cousin Dustin, and Matt, a neighbor of Dustin’s family hazelnut orchard. Jack leaves the next day for the funeral, and afterwards to go on a hike with his dad.
When the real identity of the woman is discovered, the shock rippling through Emmy, Claire, and Dustin is palpable. It leaves Emmy wondering if she really knows very much about Jack after all. As he is now the person of interest for the woman’s murder.
Emmy and her sister, Sunny, are very stable, hard-working ladies. Their parents are hippies who thought Sunny would follow their lifestyle…until she finds she is a financial genius and is on her way to an MBA. Emmy and Summer become much closer through the course of this mystery. Jack and his family get along well, overall. His twin sister Claire has had a thing for Dustin, their cousin, for several years. He was adopted by their aunt and uncle, so they are not related by blood; he is an engineer who became an inventor, earning millions from his designs. The characters are defined very well, as needed for their roles, and are overall very likable.
I really enjoyed this mystery; it is written very well. I actually enjoyed the animosity between Stella and Ace, the local plumber, tow truck driver, and handyman. While I thought their disagreements would result as they did, it didn’t seem so for a while. I appreciated seeing how small-town politics and elections can work. The mystery is finally-executed, with clues and red herrings and surprising plot twists. The person I thought was the bad guy through much of the novel I finally let off the hook; next I was onto who the real killer was – even if I wasn’t sure why. In a way I pitied the person, except for the murders, of course, and framing others, of course. The full resolution brought surprises despite my figuring out who the real killer was. I highly recommend this novel. The author’s skill at bringing together characters, oceanside setting, and a fresh, unique mystery make it well-worth the read.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*