Title: Death at High Tide by Hannah Dennison
Island Sisters Mystery Series Book One
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 301 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher
Death at High Tide is the delightful 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.
Death at High Tide by Hannah Dennison is a charming cozy mystery with a rugged setting.
Evie Mead is mourning the sudden loss of her husband, Robert, when she discovers she is bankrupt. However, among the paperwork is a letter and a promissory note for a hotel on the remote island of Tregarrick Rock. Her sister Margot, who flew over from Hollywood, convinces Evie to at least give the hotel a once over as a distraction if nothing else. Evie and Margot’s rose-colored vision of the hotel is quickly shattered when they learn exactly how isolated the dated Art Deco hotel truly is. Trapped on the island, they soon become suspects in a shocking murder. Can they convince Detective Sergeant Patricia “Patty” Williamson they are not killers?
Evie is still stunned at her husband’s death. She cannot yet plan Robert’s funeral since his son must return to England from Australia. At Margot’s urging, Evie reluctantly agrees to a quick peek at Tregarrick Rock. Their trip is off to inis auspicious start as she battles seasickness, unexpected travel delays and grumpy locals. And this all before she and Margot arrive at the hotel where they are confronted by ’70s decor, the angry owner, treacherous cliffs and blinding fog. When one murder quickly becomes two, Evie and Margot want nothing more than to return home. However, DS Williamson warns them they have to remain on the island during the investigation.
Margot is rather high maintenance, overdresses and over packs. She also spins a tale that could land her and Evie in hot water after the murders. She is supportive of Evie, but Margot is also preoccupied with crises of her own. While Margot is panicked at the unfolding events on Tregarrick Rock, Margot is rather blasé about the murders and investigation.
Death at High Tide is a delightful cozy mystery with a likeable but naive lead protagonist. The storyline is engaging and fast-paced. Although Evie and Margot are vibrantly developed, the secondary characters are a little one-dimensional and not as appealing. Tregarrick Rock is a rough and changeable setting that is quite atmospheric. Hannah Dennison brings this clever mystery to a dramatic, action-filled conclusion. A wonderful first installment in the Island Sisters Mystery series that fans of cozy mysteries are sure to enjoy!