First Lines: "'I'm sorry, but I don't understand what you mean.' Anxiety pooled in the pit of my stomach, and I knew it had to be reflected in my face because my sister, Margot, grabbed my hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze."
Summary: Evie Mead is still trying to get used to the idea that her husband is gone. Her sister traveled from California to be by her side. There are so many things that need to be taken care of. Evie is thankful for her husband's accountant, Nigel Hearst, who is handling everything. While Evie and Margot are in his office, Nigel mentions that Evie may be the new owner of Tragarrick Rock Hotel. Evie's husband made a loan to the current owner who used the hotel as collateral. According to Nigel's records, the loan was never repaid.
Margot plans a weekend trip to the island so the sisters can get a glimpse of the hotel. She keeps it a secret from Evie thinking that a surprise would cheer her up. The sisters are both surprised when they arrive at the hotel to find that their reservation was never recorded. The hotel is able to accommodate them, but they do not feel welcome. In fact, they feel uneasy. As Evie and Margot try to discover whether the loan was repaid, they are met with anger and denial. When a murder occurs, all the sisters want to do is leave the island. Unfortunately, the high tide prevents their leaving. All that is left to do is discover who the murderer is before it's too late.
My thoughts: My first clue that this was going to be a good read was the map of Tregarrick Rock located on the first page. I love being able to refer to a map during the story, especially when the location is so unique.
I really enjoyed the relationship of Evie and Margot. They are sisters, but it has been years since they have seen one another. Margot lives in California with her husband. They both work in Hollywood. Evie and her husband have been living in the UK. Evie is down to earth, trusting and always dressed appropriately. Margot is high strung, high maintenance and always dressed in designer attire which is usually not appropriate for the weather. Even though they are very different, their love for one another shines through.
I loved the way the island and the hotel set the atmosphere for the mystery. The island is usually shrouded in fog so thick you can't find your way. If you want to leave the island, you are at the mercy of the tide and the ferry operator. The hotel is old and run down. Much of the interior was updated in the 1970's and hasn't been touched since. There are large swathes of shag carpet and geometric wallpaper in browns and oranges. The combination of the island atmosphere, hotel ambiance and cold shoulder from the residents leaves one feeling unsettled.
The mystery itself was many layered. At first it seems the mystery is to uncover whether the loan has been repaid to Evie's husband. But, as the sisters begin snooping, they uncover lots of other secrets that may or may not have anything to do with the loan. The whole story feels very Christie-esque.
There is an interesting cast of characters at the hotel and on the nearby mainland. I hope to see some of them in future installments.
In the end, the mystery is solved and the unsettled feeling disappears. This was a great start to a new series that I look forward to reading more of.