Okay, truth being told I didn't expect to enjoy this one as much as I did. For a mystery or even someone getting back into the place she grew up in and pretty much everyone hates (or at least doubts) it was actually funny and entertaining! I mean, there are dark moments - murder.. a sad past.. - but the whole vibe somehow felt sunny and fresh, like walking on the beach - what the Isles of Scilly have in spades.
Jemima Jago grew up in St. Morwenna. Her life growing up wasn't ideal when you consider she was left there by her dad when he found himself a new family, but while she wasn't accepted by some, she had her loving grandma and her close group of friends - her besti Pauley Gwyn, her boyfriend Rhys Tremayne and his younger brother Cam. Until the day she didn't have any of them anymore. Leaving at the age of 14 she couldn't believe she'd ever have a reason to return.
Now, almost 20 years later, she found the opportunity and though she isn't sure about seeing any of the town's people, there is one place she is interested in - Pauley Gwyn's ancient library. Working at the Royal Institute of Cornwall and the Courtney Library she is tasked with cataloging and authenticating the Gwyn's family library. As a librarian it's her dream come true!
Things doesn't go as expected from her first visit at the local pub only to be stood up, to the body she finds before the night is even over. So from there on there is very little library work and quite a lot of sleuthing but also making friends as well as rekindling old ones. I really enjoyed getting to know all the characters around Jemima. Unlike a lot of novels where too many names are dropped, here I actually remembered who each and every one of them were. Which also helped to try and guess who the killer was! I had a few suspects, narrowed it down to two, started second guessing myself and switching one of them up. It WAS one of them, but the reasoning was lost on me right until the very end. It was complex, but not THAT complex if you know how to read between the lines (of mystery) which I, myself, am not that good or experienced with but once everything was explained I could see all the bread crumbs I missed..
It was quite the ride. Jemima did encounter quite a bit of hostility from the town's people, yet she found her group of friends once more mainly in Pauley Gwyn and Micki Latham but there were more interesting characters like - Love seeking Lissa DeYoung and her lavender haired daughter Kenzie. Clarence Latham - Micki's cousin and the owner of the local B&B. The mysterious Hack, Bart the (not so honorary) Ferryman. Bettie and Saoirse Quick - another mother and daughter and the owners of the local Ice Cream Hut. The sour Dahlia Reddy - who just lost her mother. Soon to retire Chief of Police Anderson (also known as 'Randy Andy'). The not so courageous PC Newt McDowell, and of course - Jemima's lost love - Rhys Tremayne (Will there be a love triangle in the next one(s)?).
I enjoyed how complex all the characters were. Everyone has his or her story. Jemima might have felt (unrightfully) accused but I think it mostly wasn't about her. It was about each and every one's personal struggle. I think it's also one of the things that made me remember the characters as they weren't just "names dropped" they felt genuine and crucial to the story even if they weren't.
HIGHLY RECOMMENED. Even if like me you don't usually into mystery or non-romance novels. It's SO worth the read.
Off to read the next one - A Death at Candlewick Castle !
8-10 September 2021