Brought to you by OBS reviewer Jeanie
Where biking takes a deadly turn…
Shakedowns cover-ups and big fat lies keep bodies hidden on Mackinac Island and bike-riding tourist oblivious to it all.
Geared for the Grave…
To boost her chances for a promotion, Evie Bloomfield helps her boss’ dad with his cycle shop. The good idea turns bad when dad winds up prime suspect in a murder. To save her job Evie takes over the failing shop though she’s never ridden a bike, finding a killer though she can’t find her keys in her purse and discovering why someone is out to frame Dad. Can Chicago Evie survive life on Mackinac Island without her Honda, being on an eight-mile chunk of land with horses, carriages, bikes, fudge-eating tourists, the resident sage writing her eulogy and a killer who wants her dead? (From Goodreads)
Duffy Brown has a new, not-to-be-missed series, beginning with Geared for the Grave! This adventurous tale in the Cycle Path Mystery series takes place on Mackinac Island, in Northern Michigan. Mackinac Island is what drew me to the mystery, as I had not the pleasure of visiting this unique place when I grew up in the Lower Peninsula.
Our heroine is Evie Bloomfield of Chicago, who leaves her disorderly world of terrible traffic and the job that she toddles along in with hopes of promotion, to help her boss Abigail with the future of her father’s bicycle shop. Up to this time, Abigail has been a distant, high-powered businesswoman, owner of a busy ad agency, who barely seemed to notice Evie’s existence – which the upcoming change may be a mixed blessing. When Abigail’s father suffers an injury, she was unable to leave her company so Evie went for her.
Mackinac Island is described as an eight-mile island. There are no cars, motorcycles, trucks, shopping malls or big box stores. Transportation is by shank’s mare or bicycle. Taxis are cycles with baskets, or horse-drawn carriages, much to Evie’s chagrin as she traveled with seasickness and nine cans of paint on the ferry from the mainland. The cans of paint are to spruce up Rudy’s Rides, the somewhat dilapidated shop of Abigail’s father that several people on the island are out to get. Literally. From the historic committee to Speed Maslow, the local bike racing hero, there is no shortage of those ready to snatch the property and put it to their use. The question is. which of them may have been desperate enough to murder one of the island’s wealthy folks, Bunny Harrington, and frame Rudy Randolf for it? In an attempt to keep her job and get a promotion, Evie is willing to go to any length to find the murderer – before the murderer reaps the rewards of Rudy’s imprisonment – or Evie’s untimely death.
Evie is a feisty young woman who seems to have been overlooked by her family, a bevy of highly-successful attorneys. She is happy out of the spotlight, but has gumption, grit, and a healthy dose of common sense that has been overlooked by family and employers alike. Rudy sees and appreciates her talents and he tries to see his shop in a new light in spite of his circumstances. In the beginning we meet an interesting fellow who has lost his energy along with his finances. A man who gives a couple kittens a home, however, isn’t all bad – especially as he protects Bambino, the kit who sleeps in the far left corner pocket of the pool table. Duffy Brown has an eclectic cast of eccentric characters – some delightful and some delinquent. Irish Donna, Nate Sutter, Ed and Helen, Irma, Dwight Harrington, Jason Bourne, and Fiona, to name a few, either delight, frighten, or irritate Evie. And when things couldn’t get more disordered, Evie’s high-class mother shows up.
The plot is very well executed, making it a challenge to understand the who and the why! Which is a must in any mystery. The Islanders are a fun bunch of people, and it sounds like a fascinating place to live. The tale is entertaining with fun scenes of Evie following through on clues. Nancy Drew never seemed to have days such as Evie does. Bunny had no shortage of people who wanted to “off” her. If only the police would see it that way! Time is running out and they are ready to slap the bracelets on Rudy, so Evie kicks into high-gear (no pun intended). And now – the mob shows up? What, or who, next? As this reader raced toward the solution, she was disappointed only in that the end was very abrupt, leaving one feeling as if falling from a cliff within seconds after the murder was solved.
Geared for the Grave is the first book I’ve read by Duffy Brown and it will not be the last! I highly recommend this novel to those fascinated by Mackinac Island, those who enjoy well-written mysteries with a bit of romance, and Duffy Brown’s earlier books. It may not be suitable for early teens only due to the frequent references to passionate interludes (or lack thereof), but adults of any age will find this to be a great read by the fireplace or on the beach.