About the Book
Genre: Cozy Mystery, #1 in A Hamptons Home & Garden Mystery Series
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Release Date: August 2015
Synopsis from Goodreads...
After Meg Barrett found her fiancé still had designs on his ex-wife, she decided it was time to refurbish her life. Leaving her glamorous job at a top home and garden magazine, she fled Manhattan for Montauk, only to find decorating can sometimes lead to detecting…
In between scouring estate sales for her new interior design business, Cottages by the Sea, Meg visits the swanky East Hampton home of her old college roommate, Jillian Spenser. But instead of seeing how the other half lives—she learns how the other half dies. Jillian’s mother, known as the Queen Mother of the Hamptons, has been murdered. Someone has staged a coup.
When she helps a friend inventory the Spensers’ estate for the insurance company, Meg finds herself right in the thick of things. Cataloging valuable antiques and art loses its charm when Meg discovers that the Spenser family has been hiding dangerous secrets, which may have furnished a murderer with a motive. As Meg gets closer to the truth, the killer will do anything to paint her out of the picture…
FIRST IN A NEW SERIES
After discovering her fiancé was cheating on her, Meg Barrett needed a change in her life and she found one. She is excited with her new venture – an interior design business in Montauk on eastern Long Island. It’s much different than her last job in Manhattan at a home and garden magazine.
When she is invited to the home of her former college roommate, Jillian Spenser, Meg is impressed with the wealthy East Hampton home. She’s not so impressed to discover Jillian’s mother, known as the Queen Mother of the Hamptons, dead. Jillian apparently witnessed the murder, but she’s suffering from PTSD and has amnesia.
Meg’s close friend, Elle, hires her to evaluate the Spenser’s estate for the insurance company, but Meg finds herself involved in so much more. She begins to uncover secrets, lies and betrayals in the family and wonders if one of them could be a killer.
I adored the heroine. Meg is strong, determined, and yet very likeable. Readers will have no trouble cheering for her to come out on top when all is said and done. Even some of the secondary characters won my heart. Her best friend Elle, Jillian’s brother Cole, and her father’s friend Doc rallied around Meg. I don't want to forget Tripod, Cole's dog. What a sweetie! Each character added something special to the story.
This book has gothic overtones – a huge mysterious mansion, an eccentric family, and a murder in the center of everything. What a captivating novel! It grabbed me right from the start. I absolutely could not put it down. I should also mention that the mystery kept me guessing to the end and I guessed wrong. The author threw me off and I loved every minute of being kept in the dark.
It also helped that the setting is located near to my own home. I could identify with all the places and roads Meg traveled. That was a real treat and doesn’t usually happen in the books I read.
Overall, a delightful start to a brand new series. This will go on my auto-buy list.
For reading challenges:
2015 My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge
FTC Disclosure: The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review for this blog tour. This did not influence my thoughts and opinions in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
Author Guest Post
How I got my Oceanfront Cottage in Montauk without Spending a Dime
By Kathleen Bridge
The first time my husband, infant son, and I traipsed 120 miles due east from Manhattan to Montauk, it was love at first sight. As a transplanted Michigander, Montauk, on the easternmost tip of Long Island, became my touchstone. The town embodied all the things I loved about laidback summers on the Great Lakes and as an added perk it was only sixteen miles away from glitzy East Hampton—summer home of the rich and famous.
Walking the beach toward the lighthouse, I would fantasize about which rickety steps might lead upward to my new cottage.
Then I found it.
Through a set of newly purchased binoculars, I saw that the cottage was modest. It had three-sided ocean views and an upstairs balcony the size of a ship’s crow’s nest. There were twenty seven wooden steps leading up from the secluded beach. I pictured myself reading mysteries on the screened porch or sipping a glass of local Long Island wine on the swing that gently swayed under the eaves.
There was only one problem. The cottage wasn’t for sale. And even if it was, we couldn’t afford it. We lived in Manhattan in a wonderful apartment and we both had careers—but the price of an oceanfront cottage, even the small cozy one I fell in love with, would’ve been way beyond our means.
But that didn’t stop me.
On our weekend jaunts to Montauk, I would wake at sunrise and walk a mile east from our hotel toward the lighthouse, a beach chair strapped across my back, a thermos of coffee, and a book in my beach bag. Then, I’d set up camp at the bottom of the steps leading up to my cottage. The wonderful thing about Montauk’s beaches was the fact that they had public access. You could own a multimillion dollar cottage on a cliff, but the beach belonged to everyone.
I never saw anyone coming down those twenty-seven steps. No one sat on the swing or stood on the deck gazing out at the Atlantic. I fantasized that the cottage was uninhabited, the family fighting over whether or not to sell. (Sell, darn it!) My husband thought I was bordering on the obsessive but I was determined to have my cozy four-room cottage. (I knew it had four rooms because I’d stalked a local real estate agent until she showed me photos of the no frills cottage from when it’d been sold years before.) I had all the realtors in town on speed dial, they had me on their blocked list.
One day, I opened my laptop, typed: BETTER HOMES AND CORPSES—A Hamptons Home and Garden Mystery. A few pages later, I got the cottage of my dreams. It was everything I’d imagined, right down to the flagstone fireplace, wide-planked wood floors, and a vintage turquoise fridge…
I got my cottage in Montauk without spending a dime.
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