The Bottom Line: Cozy mystery fans will treasure this excellent entry point to Jennings’ Sara Woods mystery series.
The seventh entry in Jennifer Jennings’ 21-book-strong series about New Hampshire detective Sara Woods finds her immersed in the seedy underbelly of the Floridian upper class. A rookie investigator at this point in the series, Woods wants nothing more than to join her boyfriend Max on vacation in the Sunshine State. Like Hercule Poirot and generations of other detectives before her, trouble finds Sarah at a dinner party. Host and family patriarch Dennis Foster seems to have a fatal heart attack, but of course, all is not as it seems.
It doesn’t take Sarah long to discover that prior to Foster’s death, his young widow Brook was being blackmailed over an affair with someone she refuses to name. Jennings convincingly positions Sarah as a reluctant detective drawn in by curiosity and the promise of a generous paycheck. Although Jennings is firmly entrenched within the cozy mystery genre – the tone is light, with virtually no profanity and minimal sexual references – the narrative crackles with tension as Sarah uncovers a web of lies, deceit and murder surrounding the Foster family.
If you’re like me, you may not believe that Sarah’s life is ever in actual danger. Still, thanks to Jennings’ perfect pacing, gift for characterization and the element of surprise, there’s plenty of incentive to continue reading until the last page is turned. Highly recommended.