*** Disclaimer: All opinions are my own. Received an electronic copy of this book in exchange for a free honest review.
“…I’d made all the usual death jokes with my author guests but a real-life death did not seem that funny at the moment…” – Morgan C. Talbot, Smugglers & Scones
Smugglers & Scones Review
By Lindsey Jane Philipson
The setting in this novel is in Seacrest and revolves around Pippa Winterbourne, who runs Moorehaven: a bed-and-breakfast. However, this is no ordinary bed and breakfast: it was the former home of the renowned mystery writer, A. Raymond Moore. Under the terms of his legacy, the guests are unique, as only writers wanting to pen their own crime novels are able to stay. When Pippa rescues a handsome boat pilot, Lake, from a boating accident, with no recollection of the event, Pippa finds herself stumbling into her very own mystery plot: especially when it is later discovered that a murder has taken place too. Intrigued, Pippa decides to investigate the events herself and catch the killer. Aided by her friends in the community, Pippa’s probing unmasks clues which link back to Seacrest’s Prohibition days and also, surprisingly, learns that her clandestine patronage, Raymond Moore, is involved too…
As her quest to solve the mystery progresses, Pippa’s life begins to resemble a storyline akin to ones her own guests seek to write. In between running her bed and breakfast, her attraction to Lake: a possible suspect, and on the hunt for a murderer, whilst baking delicious scones, sometimes the lines between truth and fiction can be hard ones to determine…
I really enjoyed this book. The narrative was very well plotted and Pippa was a very endearing protagonist, with her witty, warm and engaging personality. Although a murder mystery, the setting of the book gave the reader a real home town feel and you could picture the sense of community in the small town of Seacrest. I also loved the historical elements in the story, which the writer incorporated. Additionally, at the start of the chapter, the author used quotes from Moore himself, which gave an insight into his persona and also lent themselves to the plot of the novel.
The time line and plot were excellently formatted and the reader, like Pippa, was kept guessing to the end. The book overall was a very light-hearted read with some comical elements yet the author did touch upon darker themes of suicide and depression, albeit in a very empathetic and sensitive manner. Part love story, part mystery and murder, I would highly recommend this novel. ***(However, it may not be suitable for younger readers.)