Eleanor Trewynn is a recently retired widow who has moved to the small village of Port Mabyn in Cornwall. Neither frail nor retiring, after a lifetime of traveling the world, she’s ready for an uneventful life with her dog and friends in this quiet town. Unfortunately, excitement seems to happen around her.Her friend and neighbor, artist Nick Gresham, returns from a trip only to find several of his paintings slashed, reportedly by rival local artist Geoffrey Clarke. When Nick goes to have it out with him, with Eleanor in tow, they find Clarke’s body in his studio, fatally stabbed in the back. Accused of the crime, Nick ends up in jail, while Detective Inspector Scumble and DSMegan Pencarrow, Eleanor’s niece, investigate. But Eleanor isn’t leaving anything to chance—she starts doing a little investigating of her own, and soon learns that Nick is far from the only one with a compelling motive for murder.
Review: This is a disappointing whodunnit set in Cornwall, England and is the second book in the series. Not having read the first book, Manna From Hades, I was missing part of the backstory especially what Eleanor Trewynn had been involved in previously with the police. The dialogue was sometimes hard to follow given my unfamiliarity with most of the Cornish words used but some could be figured out in context and other words from something another character might say.
There are a lot of characters to sort through since there are police personnel from two precincts involved in trying to solve the murder. There are many artists who live on a commune with farmers, Doug and Margery Rosevear, their landlords for the apartments/studios that they rent. The murder victim is also an artist and is one of their own, Geoffrey, who lives and works in the commune but is not liked or even held in high esteem by any except Stella, a fellow artist who lives there and who is his sometimes girlfriend. Eleanor’s niece, Megan Pencarrow, is the Detective Sergeant on the case and Megan’s boss is Detective Inspector Scumble who can be quite terse at times. Throw in Eleanor’s neighbor, Nick, another artist who is familiar with all of the other artists involved in the story and her friend Jocelyn amongst many others and there are a lot of people. All seem to be taking part as witnesses, confidants, friends or foes. Eleanor’s dog, Teazle, goes everywhere she does and seems everyone knows or gets to know Teazle along the way.
There were family and friends along with lots of police, artists and medical personnel. There were many descriptions of food, the town, the farm and countryside as well as artistic terms, styles and artwork. The story was often simplistic and had a lot of action going on from different people’s perspectives. Megan and her boss are trying to put a case together to solve the murder so there are witnesses to question and timelines to create. Of course, Eleanor as an amateur sleuth, is always at the forefront with information she’s gathered or remembered from being at the crime scene and drags Nick and/or Joce with her and Teazle. There is repetition at times from all the witnesses corroborating what they saw while being separately interviewed as well as from the police rehashing the case and bringing each other up to speed. Unfortunately, I pinpointed the murderer almost from the start so the ending was anticlimactic except that it tied up some loose ends. Justice is ultimately served when the murderer is captured and life returns somewhat to normal for Eleanor and the others.
Dunn is a new to me author and I had heard good things about her Daisy Dalrymple series. I may give another book or two a try since I do enjoy mysteries every now and then and hope that I can be brought deeper into the storyline and thus better enjoy it.
Favorite Quote: “I was waiting for my turn to answer their questions, but they packed it in for the night before they got to me. It’s the little-old-lady syndrome. You just wait till you’re white-haired and over sixty and you’ll discover lots of people-men in particular-assume you have nothing to contribute that can possibly be worth their time. I didn’t kick up a fuss, because as soon as Inspector Pearce consulted the policemen who actually went to the gallery he was bound to find out Stella was talking through her hat.”