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by Tim Myers

Prime Crime, June 2001
ISBN: 0-425-18002-6

Reviewed by Karen Meek

Alex Winston is the owner of the Hatteras West Inn, in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It's an inn with a real conversation piece, a replica lighthouse.

Business isn't great for Alex; being autumn, only half of the rooms are occupied, the maid is hopeless and bursts into tears at the slightest thing and the boiler is on its last legs, again. On top of that, Alex finds the body of one of his regular guests and long time friend at the top of the lighthouse. Initially the elderly man was thought to have died of heart failure, but the doctor's examination reveals a stab wound in the back of the neck.

Alex has little faith in the local sheriff's ability to solve the case and resolves to find the murderer and protect his remaining guests from attack. When the maid hears of the murder, she quits her job, sending her cousin Elise in her place. Fortunately Elise has a degree in hotel management and is extremely efficient. She joins Alex in his investigation. In truth Alex and Elise do not have much time to investigate, as the Inn lurches from one crisis to another.

INNKEEPING WITH MURDER is everything a cozy should be; small town setting where everyone knows everyone, a limited number of suspects, and a puzzle for the reader to solve. I guessed the murderer and their weapon early on but didn't know the motive until the dramatic conclusion. Also there were a couple of points that were not cleared up at the end. Neither of these things detracted from my enjoyment at all. It's an extremely easy to read tale and set in an unusual locale. This is the first in the series and does a good job of introducing the main characters; Alex a young man with old fashioned manners and Elise, a beautiful young woman (currently) engaged to a Porsche driver that she refuses to discuss. The scene is set for the pair to develop more than a business relationship over the next few books. I look forward to it.

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