08 February 2011

Review: Berried to the Hilt: A Gray Whale Inn Mystery by Karen MacInerney

The Book:

Off the coast of Maine, Cranberry Island is buzzing with excitement over the find of a sunken ship.  Rumors of its identity take over - could it be legendary sea captain Jonah Selfridge's missing Myra Barton?  Or possibly even Black Marguerite, the pirate ship which disappeared in the 17th century?

The excitement swells as marine archaeologists and treasure hunters come to the island.  Better even for Natalie Barnes and her business, Gray Whale Inn, until a body shows up near the wreckage.  Finding herself again in the middle of a murder, Natalie races to find the killer - and the treasure - in time before she finds herself lost at sea.

The Yarn:

Berried to the Hilt is the fourth book of the Gray Whale Inn Mystery series by Karen MacInerney.  Natalie once again finds herself in the middle of a murder, but with a local friend on the line, she is willing to investigate even after her near drowning from her last experience.  The story focuses on the murder and hunt for the sunken ship, however the fun secondary storyline of Natalie getting ready to judge the annual cranberry bake-off, and starting to think of her upcoming wedding to artist and deputy John Quinton, lightens the load.

Cranberry Island is full of great characters: from Natalie's best friend, Charlene, who is also the postmistress/general store owner and hub of gossip, to Adam, college-kid-turned-lobsterman who is also in love with Natalie's niece, Gwen.  Other island regulars carry from book to book and bring a quirky small marine community to life.  MacInerney doesn't stint on the details.  From boat rides across choppy ocean water to the numerous baked goods flowing through the kitchen doors of the Inn, I felt transported to this isolated island town.

Natalie works hard to help her friend be proven innocent, although her tactics can leave something to be desired.  She is a definite snoop, although a caring one, and some may find that a difficult trait to deal with in a main character.  The suspense builds right up to the end, and makes Berried to the Hilt another strong entry into the cozy mystery genre.

A component of any good cozy, the recipes do not disappoint either!  Based on the meals that Natalie serves through the book, and the winner of the Cranberry Bake-Off, they are a great addition to anyone's recipe box.  I also like that the publisher doesn't take the normal stance of blazing "RECIPES INCLUDED" on the cover, and just leaves them as a nice addition to the book.

The Ink:

Title:  Berried to the Hilt (#4, The Gray Whale Inn Mysteries)
Author:  Karen MacInerney
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Date: November 2010
Read:  Library Trade Paperback