Ah, more cozy mysteries, courtesy of the basically bloggless Susan. I’d read the first book in the series, A Timely Vision, some time ago. (Sadly, I don’t know when because I only started keeping an annual reading spreadsheet in 2012…) So, I skimmed it yesterday to refresh my memory and then devoured the next three books.
The series is set in Duck, Outer Banks, North Carolina. The first book makes a couple of serious landmark/geographical errors, but they still didn’t stop me – or Susan, who has almost life-long vacation roots in OBX – from being fond of the series. In fact, I’m left wondering if it is coincidence or not that the fire chief in the series is a female. Duck’s chief is, and there’s an officer in the Southern Shores FD who was a school teacher. Hmmm… maybe the authors did learn from their mistakes in the first book and get to know the area?
Heck, even the roofline on the cover of book #1 isn’t unfamiliar to me. I’d argue it’s a blue, embellished version of a little yellow victorian in Kitty Hawk, but what do I know?
The main character is the very awesome Dae O’Donnell, mayor of Duck, and proprietor of the Missing Pieces shop on the boardwalk. Her grandfather is the retired sheriff, and of course, there’s a rugged, good-looking former FBI agent running the old inn in town, and everyone knows Dae. As a family friend and former boss of mine once put it, “They’ll mind all of your business but they won’t pay your bills.” Yup. That’s life in a small town, even when that tiny town of roughly 500 year ’round citizens booms into the tens of thousands of residents in the peak summer season.
Of course, Dae gets herself into trouble, but you’ll have to read the series to find out how, and how she gets herself deeper into trouble en route to finding her way out of it at the end. So far, book #3 A Spirited Gift, is my favorite of the series. While the authors call it lore, I call it OBX local history, because far be it for me to draw the line between history and a good ghost story, especially in a place as other-worldly as the Outer Banks, where an early British settlement disappeared without a trace, and where Blackbeard himself hid out – and those are undisputed facts.
If you roll your eyes during a ghost story, then this probably isn’t the series for you, although the County Sheriff – not Dae’s grandfather, but his replacement – isn’t much of a believer either, and yet he still finds himself working with Dae and the more open-minded law men in her life – including the Duck Police Chief.
While Duck isn’t “my” part of the Outer Banks, I’ve spent some time there and I do love that women play key roles in the local government in this series, and in “real life.” I don’t know that natives call themselves “Bankers” but I can assure you that the unflappable folks who make those barrier islands their home are far more interested in capabilities than traditional gender roles, and most of them love to tell ghost stories. It’s never occurred to me to inquire whether they believe the tales or not.
Maybe part of the reason I loved #3 so much is because it opens with an unassuming little hurricane that does far more damage than anyone expected. That’s par for the course in the Outer Banks. The very islands themselves ebb and flow with the tides, as do most of our coastlines.
Speaking of mysteries, there has been an arrest made in the missing teen case, but Alexis has not been found. Thank you for the good vibes and prayers; I appreciate that you care that I have friends hurting, and Alexis’s family certainly appreciates all the support, near and far.
Have you read anything good recently?