“Upbeat ‘Whodunit’ with Scenic Views and Recipes”

Reviewed: 6/23/16
Overall  ♥♥♥♥   Performance  ♥♥♥♥   Story ♥♥♥♥

This is a fast-moving, entertaining “whodunit” mystery, complete with recipes from Liz Lucas’ upscale Northern Californian spa. As a 52-year old widow, Liz is now managing the spa, lodge, and guest cottages on her own, with the help of loyal staff. A dead guest is the last thing she needs for the spa’s reputation–especially considering that the small town police chief is a lecherous slob and the guest is the new mayor’s wife. So Liz is forced to play detective herself, and the result is a fun adventure filled with new love, old friends, and devoted dogs (every mystery needs a really smart dog!)

From long conversations on the lodge’s balcony overlooking the ocean, to multiple visits to the nearby town of Red Cedar to interview important leads, the pace and atmosphere of coastal Northern California imbue this novel with a unique flavor. And since Liz is quite a cook, every meal is an imaginative feast (and all her recipes are included at the end of the novel). Her new romantic partner, Roger, is smart, successful, and totally enamored of Liz, which definitely doesn’t hurt!

I admire how Liz trusts her intuition, verging on ESP, a sense she’s called her “niggle” since childhood. There are a lot of male characters who “trust their gut,” and it’s about time that female intuition is respected and reinforced. (Let me tell you about my “chills of rightness…”)

Narrator Erin deWard displays an especially wide range of styles and voices as she moves from the heroine’s internal reveries to the fast action scenes, and each character is completely recognizable by voice alone. (My one quibble is the amount of “vocal fry” apparent in the low masculine voice of Roger–it’s a bit grating.)

At just under five hours, this is an ideal listen at the airport, beach, or waiting for an appointment. The narrative is straightforward and easy to pick up again (if you don’t listen in a single sitting as I did). I think I can add that there’s even a happy ending without spoiling the plot! Enjoy…

“This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review courtesy of AudiobookBoom dot com.”

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