Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: October 26th, 2021
Pages: 304, mass market paperback
As if hitting the half-century mark wasn’t enough, Misty Murphy celebrated her landmark birthday by amicably ending her marriage and investing her settlement in a dilapidated mountain lodge at the top of the Blue Ridge Mountains. With the old inn teetering on both a bluff and bankruptcy, she must have lost her ever-loving mind.
Luckily, handyman Rocky Crowder has a knack for rehabbing virtual ruins and for doing it on a dime, and to Misty’s delight, the lodge is fully booked on opening night, every room filled with flexible folks who’d slipped into spandex and ascended the peak for a yoga retreat with plans to namastay for a full week. Misty and her guests are feeling zen—at least until the yoga instructor is found dead.
With a killer on the loose and the lodge’s reputation hanging in the balance, Misty must put her detective-skills to the test. Only one thing is as clear as a sunny mountain morning—she must solve the crime before the lodge ends up, once again, on the brink.
Misty has, at 50, decided to divest herself of her husband and acquire a lodge in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This, despite her lack of experience or education in the hospitality industry, seems to be trending toward success until the leader of a yoga group is found dead on the property. Along with the predictable hunky handyman named Rocky, Misty investigates to clear the lodge and keep anyone else from ending up in corpse pose.
It was okay. Misty is likeable enough, but a lot of the story seemed improbable and just added either because it was expected or because it was necessary to force the plot. Misty gets divorced at midlife, check. She buys a lodge to reinvent her life, check. The lodge is by a diner that, despite being miles from other businesses, enjoys a good amount of business. That’s pretty convenient. The hunky handyman ends up moving into one of the spare rooms because his house is overcrowded. This gives them opportunities to flirt. Check.
The murderer is someone you won’t expect, and much like Misty’s reasons for ditching her husband, the murderer’s reasons don’t really make sense or seem strong enough to warrant their actions.
But I think the most unlikely thing for me was that, despite the fact that Misty had decades of memories of having visited the lodge with her family, she only was reminded of her husband once. Also, she seems to have divorced her kids, too. There’s no mention of her contacting either her ex or her two sons until the murder occurs, and then she just texts them. Maybe it’s just me, but that really didn’t seem realistic to me.
It’s not a bad book, it’s just not my cup of tea, and I don’t think I’ll be visiting the lodge again.