Wednesday, August 12, 2020

ARC Review: Death a High Tide by Hannah Dennison

Death at High Tide
Author: Hannah Dennison
Series: The Island Sisters (Book 1)
Publication: Minotaur Books (August 18, 2020)

Description: Death at High Tide is the first installment in the Island Sisters series by Hannah Dennison, featuring two sisters who inherit an old hotel in the remote Isles of Scilly off the coast of Cornwall and find it full of intrigue, danger, and romance.

When Evie Mead’s husband, Robert, suddenly drops dead of a heart attack, a mysterious note is found among his possessions. It indicates that Evie may own the rights to an old hotel on Tregarrick Rock, one of the Isles of Scilly.

Still grieving, Evie is inclined to leave the matter to the accountant to sort out. Her sister Margot, however, flown in from her glamorous career in LA, has other plans. Envisioning a luxurious weekend getaway, she goes right ahead and buys two tickets―one way―to Tregarrick.

Once at the hotel―used in its heyday to house detective novelists, and more fixer-upper than spa resort, after all―Evie and Margot attempt to get to the bottom of things. But the foul-tempered hotel owner claims he's never met the late Robert, even after Evie finds framed photos of them―alongside Robert's first wife―in his office. The rest of the island inhabitants, ranging from an ex-con receptionist to a vicar who communicates with cats, aren't any easier to read.

But when a murder occurs at the hotel, and then another soon follows, frustration turns to desperation. There’s no getting off the island at high tide. And Evie and Margot, the only current visitors to Tregarrick, are suspects one and two. It falls to them to unravel secrets spanning generations―and several of their own―if they want to make it back alive.

My Thoughts: This was an interesting cozy mystery filled with suspicious people. Evie Mead is very recently widowed after her much older husband had a sudden heart attack. Her sister Margot flies in from Hollywood where she is a film producer to keep her company. Things take a twisty turn when Evie's husband's business manager tells Evie that her husband was nearly bankrupt. But then the manager Nigel's odd secretary comes in with a note that indicates that Evie might be the new owner of a hotel on one of the Scilly islands.

Margot and Evie decide to spend the weekend at the hotel to try to find out if there is some basis to the idea. Arriving in November doesn't show the hotel at its best. They learn that the hotel has long been in the family of Jago Ferris. Ferris denies knowing Evie's husband Robert and definitely states that Robert never loaned him money. But then he changes his story and says that he paid Robert back years earlier.

The whole situation is strange. Jago is quite a tyrant who is keeping his son from developing his ocean salvage business and belittling his wife every chance he gets. Then there is Lily who is the retired midwife/postmistress who lives rent free in the best suite in the hotel. There is also the suspicious man of all work and his niece who is stalking Jogo's son Cador. Add in photographer Alex Karlsson who is visiting to take pictures of the lighthouse but who was a long-ago beau of Jago's wife.

When Jago is found dead at the bottom of a cliff, all of the characters become suspects because most of them had a reason to want him dead. But then Lily is found dead and things get even more complicated. 

I enjoyed the story despite finding a number of the characters quite unlikable. Margot seems to delight in getting Evie into uncomfortable situations and was definitely keeping secrets from her. Of course, Evie has some secrets of her own about her relationship with her husband.

This was entertaining. I liked the setting and see quite a few possibilities for future episodes of this first book in a series. 

Favorite Quote:
"You know, we're only at the Salty Boatman for one night," I pointed out.

"I always unpack immediately," said Margot. "It helps me feel grounded. Do you know Vivien Leigh used to take her favorite pictures when she and Larry - that's Laurence Olivier - were on tour? She'd hang them up in her hotel room."

"I'm glad you decided against that," I said.

I received this one in exchange for an honest review from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

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