Sunday, January 29, 2017

Review: Dead and Breakfast by Kate Kingsbury

Dead and Breakfast (Merry Ghost Inn, Book #1)
by Kate Kingsbury
Release Date: January 10th 2017
2017 Crooked Lane Books
Ebook Edition: 288 Pages
ISBN: 978-1683310099
Genre: Fiction / Cozy Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

4 / 5 Stars

Melanie West is getting her life back on track after a messy divorce when her grandmother, Liza Harris, asks her to open a B&B with her. Together, Liza and Melanie purchase a purportedly haunted mansion on the Oregon coast and jump right into clearing out the cobwebs. But while attempting to remove wallpaper in an upstairs bedroom, the new B&B owners stumble upon a very real skeleton in their closet.

The police suspect the skeleton is that of the wife of the previous owner of the B&B, but no one in town seems to want to say much about her. As the inn owners try to juggle renovations with their own amateur investigations, their grand opening looms closer and closer--and a friendly ghost in their walls starts playing tricks. But it all comes crashing to a halt when a new body is found stabbed to death on the beach below the inn--the victim chillingly close in resemblance to Melanie herself.

It seems someone doesn't appreciate newcomers prying into the small town's past, and now it's up to Melanie and Liza to get to the bottom of these murders to save their business...and their lives.

My Thoughts
Dead and Breakfast is the first entry in a new series, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.  The story combined an old case with a new one, something that I have always liked, and the old house Melanie and her grandmother, Liza, are turning into a bread and breakfast has a ghost.  What else could you want? 

The plot starts off with a bang when the two women find a skeleton in a room hidden away in one of the bedrooms.  I liked how the action began immediately and I thought it amusing how the women reacted upon seeing the skeleton in the closet; it actually made me like them immediately.  What I especially liked is that the women weren't deliberately snoopy, but chose to investigate on the side because the police had put their case on the back burner as it was an old case, and they wouldn't be able to open their inn until the police could get to their investigation, which could take months, something that wasn't financially viable, especially after being turned down for a loan to see them through several months.  To me, there was actually a purpose behind the women's investigation and they didn't interfere with the police in any way, which has always been one of my beefs in other cozy mysteries.  The women always made sure they kept the police informed, and when they were told not to do something, they actually followed instructions.  This made the mystery a bit simpler than others, and definitely predictable, but I didn't mind in the least.  And there were some things that were left unresolved.  Having the setting be a huge house full of mystery and history is great and I can't wait to learn more about it; I think having Melanie and Liza hear the laughing ghost is setting us up for a future story and I can't wait to learn more.  It should be interesting.  And I couldn't help but laugh when Liza nicknamed the ghost 'Orville'.  All I craved when I heard the name was buttered popcorn, something I rarely eat.

I enjoyed the characters very much, especially spunky Liza, whose witty dialogue often cracked me up.  She is just one of those grandmothers everyone wished they had, spunky, fiery, but so loving and caring to Melanie all of the time.   I liked Melanie as well, but as with many of the characters in this book, there was little character development and very little background information on any of them. I am sure we will get to know many of them better in future books.

Dead and Breakfast is a fun first entry into the Merry Ghost Inn series.  While the mystery itself was kind of simply and easy to figure out, I enjoyed the characters and the setting very much.  There were several threads left unresolved, which didn't interfere with the conclusion of this novel, but it left you wondering where the author was heading next in the series, and I am looking forward to learning more about Melanie and Liza and the other characters around town.  I am definitely looking forward to the next book in this series.