Rigged For Murder|
(Windjammer Mysteries book 1)
Conquill Press; 2 edition, 240pp, $15.00 pb, 4.99 Kindle
Perusing the recommended books at the local library, I literally snatched this paperback off the shelf. Given my focus, the attractive cover depicting a vintage schooner sailing into a lightning storm was my answer to this month's review. The contents were equal to the cover...a two week windjammer cruise along the Maine coast carrying all the usual suspects, as well as a female passenger late of the Minneapolis Police Department. (What could be more restful for a tightly wound big city cop than a leisurely sailing cruise along our legendary coast?
The plot is not unexpected...but murder and sneakiness (rather than mayhem) is assured by the book's title. What's especially fun is the setting--sneaking around on deck of a windjammer in the dark of night...dead body on the deck in the morning in the shelter of an island harbor now part of the crime scene. The island residents are drawn into the mystery and the island itself is then scoured for clues, including long tramps through the mid-island forests to the high cliffs on the far shore. The background and the bit players are every bit as enjoyable as the mystery itself and that's all I can say about it without the risk of dropping a clue.
Part psychological thriller, part police procedural, part action adventure, LeClair has a real talent for painting an idyllic scene and then dropping little bitty hints that all is not well...not quite spooky but certainly disquieting...to both the characters and the reader.
It isn't usual for me to pick a book for this column that is as old as this one is but there is a method to my madness. Rigged for Murder is the first in an ongoing series that has won the Independent Publishers prize for "best regional fiction".
The second book in the series is called Danger Sector which came out in 2001, also set on the windjammer. The third, Cold Coast was published in 2013 and the fourth, Apparition Island is coming out in early 2015. It sounds as if our heroine, now late of Minneapolis, has been beguiled by our lovely state and become a permanent resident.
Well written with a sharp observer's ability to convey character in a minimum of words, just the right dose of suspense and a de-emphasis on violence and gore (at least in the first book in the series) makes LeClair my latest favorite local mystery writer. I think you'll enjoy her books, especially now that sailing season's over and it's almost time to light the fire. That must be why they're called "cozies".