This story takes place at Old Harbor Friends Quaker boarding school, where comptroller and womanizer Milt Wickie is found murdered with an antique scrimshaw knife. Art teacher and widow, Bess Dore is shocked to see the knife is part of her deceased husband’s collection. How did someone break into her home, steal the knife and stab Wickie? Bess is soon questioned by detective and old flame Roger Demaris, but immediately found innocent of any wrongdoing. Will the killer strike again before being discovered? Will Bess find love again?
I had some trouble with this book. First, I found that there were an awful lot of characters to keep track of – many of them were thrown into the mix right at the start and I found it confusing. Then there was the language. The scenes with Bess and her friends were calm and well mannered, but the author had some of the male characters using some pretty foul language. It felt entirely out of place in the book when it randomly appeared. For this reason, and because of the rampant infidelity included in the story, I wouldn’t consider this a cozy mystery.
I also found myself mentally inserting missing commas and correcting minor grammatical mistakes. Yet, the author was fond of using some fairly obscure words when simpler words would have done just fine. Some additional editing might be in order.
This book wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great either. I’d still be willing to give this author another try, however.
3 of 5 Stars, Review by Susan Barton