Narrator: Natalie Duke
Series: Island Sisters Mystery #1
Published by Dreamscape Media on August 24, 2020
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Length: 8 hrs 10 mins
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Death at High Tide is the delightful first installment in the Island Sisters series by Hannah Dennison, featuring two sisters who inherit an old hotel in the remote Isles of Scilly off the coast of Cornwall and find it full of intrigue, danger, and romance.
When Evie Mead’s husband, Robert, suddenly drops dead of a heart attack, a mysterious note is found among his possessions. It indicates that Evie may own the rights to an old hotel on Tregarrick Rock, one of the Isles of Scilly.
Still grieving, Evie is inclined to leave the matter to the accountant to sort out. Her sister Margot, however, flown in from her glamorous career in LA, has other plans. Envisioning a luxurious weekend getaway, she goes right ahead and buys two tickets—one way—to Tregarrick.
Once at the hotel—used in its heyday to house detective novelists, and more fixer-upper than spa resort, after all—Evie and Margot attempt to get to the bottom of things. But the foul-tempered hotel owner claims he's never met the late Robert, even after Evie finds framed photos of them—alongside Robert's first wife—in his office. The rest of the island inhabitants, ranging from an ex-con receptionist to a vicar who communicates with cats, aren't any easier to read.
But when a murder occurs at the hotel, and then another soon follows, frustration turns to desperation. There’s no getting off the island at high tide. And Evie and Margot, the only current visitors to Tregarrick, are suspects one and two. It falls to them to unravel secrets spanning generations—and several of their own—if they want to make it back alive.
I loved the setting in Death at High Tide. We have a 1920s hotel that was updated a bit too much in the 70s on a remote island in the Isles of Scilly off the coast of Cornwall. The island can only be reached at low tide and it’s off season, so very few people are staying there.
Like any good isolated setting, we have a limited number of people. Evie and her sister, Margot, are our main characters. Evie’s husband has recently died, leaving Evie on pretty shaky financial ground. But, there were papers that suggested she may be the owner of the hotel, so Evie and Margot head off, to see the hotel and to get away for a weekend. The sisters are a good pair, opposites who nevertheless support each other when push comes to shove. We’ve got the husband and wife who own the hotel, a couple of staff, and an older, nosy woman who lives there year round. They’re all a bit quirky, but not likeable, even the sisters rubbed me a bit the wrong way. But this is the first in the series and maybe I’ll like them better in the second.
The mystery was okay, several suspects and red herrings, but I guessed who the killer was early and was right, which really shouldn’t happen. I don’t try to guess, so for me to know early, the author had to be telegraphing it pretty hard.
Overall, Death at High Tide was a fine start. While I didn’t love it, I can definitely see potential with both the hotel as a setting and the sisters as the lead sleuths. There’s also a potential romance in the offing, in typical cozy fashion.