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A San Juan Island Mystery

By Michael Donnelly

Windstorm Creative Ltd. (August, 2006) ($15.99)
ISBN: 1-59092-129-1

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

For the past forty years I've loved the Canadian Gulf Islands, ever since the first time I went sailing there back in the mid-sixties. And if I ever win "the big lottery" it has been my dream for over forty years to buy one of those islands and live there. For now, I have to be content to just visit a few times each year. So, when my friend who owns a bookstore in Olympia sent me a copy of FALSE HARBOR, I couldn't wait to tuck into the book. It's set in the San Juan Islands, very near to my own favorite island, Sucia.

Friday Harbor journalist, Egret Van Gerpin, is determined to find out if the reclusive sculptor Anton Gropius is working on any new pieces. Years before, someone had defaced and mutilated his works. Gropius sought solace and shelter from society on an island in the Pacific Northwest...somewhere between San Juan Island, in the state of Washington and Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. (For those unfamiliar with the territory, think small island between Seattle, Washington and Victoria, B.C., Canada.)

Catching up with the cantankerous sculptor proves to be a challenge, but one that Egret is up to. Discovering who is vandalizing the old man's works is not so easy. And it could be quite dangerous...

In addition to the locale, I thoroughly enjoyed the traditional "trapped on an island, in a storm, with the enemy" atmosphere of FALSE HARBOR. The author has captured that mystique that favorite old mysteries and movies once generated. This is the perfect book to curl up with on a stormy night as the wind howls outside of your window.

Some readers may find the characters a bit quirky, but then, many of us who live in this area are a bit quirky.

I think readers will enjoy both the atmsophere of the San Juans and the plucky journalist Egret. I hope there are more San Juan Island mysteries in the making from Mr. Donnelly.

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