Mystery author Nathan Pike checked into South Cove Bed&Breakfast to compose a compelling novel, not commit murder. But things get real when a rival B&B owner ends up exactly like the victim in his draft—undeniably dead. As Nathan prepares to complete his magnum opus behind bars, Jill’s the only one who can prove his innocence and deconstruct the plot of a twisted killer!
Praise for The Tourist Trap Mysteries
“Murder, dirty politics, pirate lore, and a hot police detective: Guidebook to Murder has it all! A cozy lover’s dream come true.” —Susan McBride, author of The Debutante Dropout Mysteries
“Lynn Cahoon has created an absorbing, good fun mystery in Mission to Murder.” —Fresh Fiction
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Hospitality and Homicide
By LYNN CAHOON
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2017 Lynn Cahoon
All rights reserved.
Sometimes the best thing you can do to welcome someone to town is to throw a party.
And sometimes, that's exactly the worst thing you can do. As the owner and manager of South Cove's Coffee, Books, and More, I'd been a reluctant participant in the Friday night get-together to welcome Nathan Pike back to South Cove. Nathan is a mystery author who had launched one of his recent books at the store during Aunt Jackie's Guess the Author contest.
Apparently from his letter he'd sent her to set-up a visit to our book club meeting next week, he liked the town so much that, a few months ago, he'd written Mayor Baylor an e-mail requesting a favor. A favor that had Greg King, South Cove's police detective and my boyfriend, in a foul mood.
"I don't know why I'm even here. Marvin's made it clear that Mr. Pike will have full run of the police station while he's visiting. I'm going to be sick of the guy in a few hours." Greg stood next to me, leaning against the wall of Bill and Mary Sullivan's South Cove Bed and Breakfast main living room. "The mayor must not think I do anything during the day. Now, I have to babysit?"
"It's not babysitting. Besides, he'll probably be happy just listening to your stories about your cases." Across the room, Walter Knicely stood looking at the room like it held the secrets to Fort Knox. Walter ran Beal Street Bed and Breakfast a few blocks from Main Street. I'd stayed there my first ever trip to South Cove and even being generous, I had to admit, Bill and Mary had the better place. He met my gaze and flushed so I waved.
Greg caught the moment, then raised his hand as well. "Walter looks like he's measuring the place for new drapes."
"I thought he was taking samples to replicate Bill and Mary's gathering room. The Beal Street place could use some updating." When Greg turned to look at me, I shrugged. "Or at least it could have five years ago. I don't think I've been over there since my original visit to South Cove."
"Nice catch. I was beginning to wonder why you were spending time over at Walter's place." Greg grinned, his first real smile all night. Maybe this wouldn't be as painful as I'd imagined.
"You know I only have eyes for you." Well, and the book boyfriend I'd discovered in the romance novel I had started reading that morning. Boy, the hero was hot in that bad boy way I loved. Shaking the image out of my head, I looked at my watch. Seven thirty. The plan had been for Nathan to arrive at six. The party attendees had been milling about the room since six thirty waiting for the man of the hour to arrive. "Maybe he's changed his mind about coming."
As soon as I'd said the words, the mayor and his new friend walked in the front door. "Sorry, the plane ran late." Mayor Baylor waved to the crowd. Of course, no one was really here to see him. To his credit, the mayor seemed to acknowledge that reality. He held out his hand and said, "Please welcome Nathan Pike back to South Cove. I'm sure you'll be seeing a lot of him around town."
Cheers of "Welcome back." And "Glad to see you in South Cove," echoed through the room. Standing next to me, Greg snorted.
"I can't believe I'm doing this," Greg whispered in my ear. Not quite the rousing welcome that the rest of the town gave the author. I figured it could have been worse. At least I'd been able to talk him into attending the party in the first place. He'd wanted to take off early for tomorrow's wine country mini-vacation we'd planned. Instead, the weekend getaway had turned into a day trip and tonight, we were here. Greg was getting more and more agitated.
However, Nathan Pike looked just as pleased to be surrounded by fifty of his closest South Cove friends as Greg was being in the room. He shot Mayor Baylor a sideways glance, but the mayor slapped him on the back, urging him toward the front of the fireplace where Bill Sullivan and his wife, Mary, stood, waving him closer. Bill held an oversized cardboard key and Mary a glass of champagne. Nathan took the wine and gulped it down, handing the empty glass back to her.
I watched as Mary refilled the flute, taking her time as Bill presented Nathan with the key to the city.
"We're so happy you chose South Cove as the place to write your next book." He held out the key. When Nathan didn't reach for it, Bill strategically placed it in front of the author. "South Cove would like to present you with the key to the city. If you need anything, all you have to do is ask, and we'll find it for you."
Nathan took the key and realized it was his turn to speak. He looked at Mary, who'd returned to his side with a second glass of champagne and handed it to him. This time, he sipped instead of downing it all in one lift. After clearing his throat, he took a deep breath before he talked. "I wasn't expecting this. Honestly, all I want is peace and privacy to write. I'll be the best town guest you've ever had, since you won't see much of me."
The crowd chuckled.
Nathan seemed to relax at their acceptance. "Anyway, thanks for this lovely welcome." He held his glass up in a toast and then walked away from the fireplace, handing the ceremonial key back to Bill.
Mayor Baylor stood next to Greg. "I hope you're ready to entertain Nathan this month. If he gives South Cove a glowing recommendation to his writers' groups, we may just be an author destination spot."
"I don't think it works that way," I mumbled. Greg shot me a look that appeared to be a cross between, "I totally agree with you," and "don't fight with the crazy." Either way, I got his meaning, be quiet. "I'm just going to go over and talk to Nathan about his signing at the shop."
Sometimes being the girlfriend of the local police detective was challenging. Although the position wasn't elected, it had more public awareness of any other job in South Cove. Greg served at the pleasure of the town council, which meant, for now, Mayor Baylor had to put up with him. But the two didn't get along.
Nathan stood by the open bar and had exchanged his champagne flute for a bottle of beer. He tipped the bartender, who I knew was a rabid fan of Pike's work, then smiled at me as I held out a hand.
"I don't know if you remember me. I'm Jill Gardner, owner of Coffee, Books, and More." We shook hands as I ordered a beer of my own. The mayor's office was footing the bill for the party and I was going to get as many free drinks from his honor the mayor as possible. As we walked away from the bar area, I turned back to nod toward the young man standing watching us. "I think Jeff might have preferred a signed napkin over a tip. He's a devoted fan."
Nathan snorted. "I kind of got that feeling. Most bartenders know how to small talk. I barely got a nod from the kid."
"He's in awe. I'm sure you've seen it before." The other authors that I'd met on Pike's level were total fame hogs. Nathan seemed to shrink from the spotlight rather than suck it into himself, as our mayor liked to do. I saw Sherry King, Greg's ex-wife and current owner of Designer Duds, a high-end consignment shop, heading our way. I moved Nathan closer to the kitchen. Maybe she hadn't seen us.
Nathan shook his head. "Only on road trips, which is why I don't do many book signings anymore. My publisher and agent are always harping on me to get out there, but I'm selling at a comfortable level. They just want more."
"I hope our signing won't be too much of a bother." I could see the weariness in his eyes. The guy didn't like crowds, that was a definite.
He put a hand on my arm. "Present company excepted. Look at me, whining about having to talk to my fan base. What an ungrateful fellow you must think I am."
"I wouldn't say ungrateful." I paused, then smiled back. "At least not to your face. Anyway, tell me about the new story. Is it a mystery?"
Nathan started talking about his most recent release, the one we'd be signing at the store. I let him go on for a while, and then when he slowed down, I jumped into the conversation. "Actually, I was wondering about the new book. The one you're writing now?"
He shook his head. "I try not to talk about works in progress. They tend to lose some of their power if I'm talking about the plot or characters."
I'd run out of things to say. A silent grandfather clock stood nearby. I touched its wood case. "I just love these old beauties. Are you an antique fan?"
Nathan chuckled. "I'm more of a modern design guy. You should see my loft. All glass and metal. My girlfriend says it looks more like a hospital than a home. I think she's seriously rethinking our relationship now that she spends more time at my place."
"I'm all about the country. Old wood, antiques, comfort settings." I pointed toward Greg. "His place seems to be decorated in early yard sale."
"We've all had that bachelor pad." Nathan opened the glass door and peered inside the clock. "I've always wanted to learn how these things work."
"We have a new clockmaker in town. Maybe you can interview him while you're here." I listened to Nathan talk about the house he grew up in and how his folks were always bringing home broken throwaways, hoping to fix them. He grew quiet and sipped on his beer.
As the local bookseller, I felt like I should keep the conversation going, so I started grasping at straws, I started talking about the tour Greg and I were taking tomorrow of a local organic farm. As I rambled, I could see the light brightening in Nathan's eyes.
"Would you mind if I tagged along?" He was almost dancing on his toes as he asked. "I can't go into details, but the setting should be perfect."
"Umm ..." I stalled, looking for a gentle way to get out of saying yes, and then Aunt Jackie appeared by my side.
"Tagged along for what, dear?" She stood on her tippy toes and kissed Nathan's cheek like they were best friends, not just book seller and book author. "So lovely to see you again, Nathan."
"Miss Jackie, so nice to see you. Your niece was telling me about the organic farm they are visiting tomorrow. I'd love to go with them on the tour." Nathan and Aunt Jackie turned to look at me.
"We're leaving kind of early." Well, for a Saturday, nine was early, at least in my book.
"No worries. I'm an early riser. Habit from when I had to write before I went to the law office for the day job." He looked at Aunt Jackie. "So are you going too?"
"I believe we will. My beau, Harrold, has been talking about going on a field trip. It will be good for all of us to get out of town for a bit." Aunt Jackie turned toward me. "Pick me up at the apartment. Harrold will meet us there."
Then the two of them walked away, chatting about the upcoming trip. A trip that Greg had pulled together so him and I could have some alone couple time. And now, we'd probably have to rent a bus to make it to the farm.
Greg was going to kill me.
* * *
We sat on my front porch later that evening. Greg threw his arm around me and pulled me close. "You're not cold, are you?"
"I'm good." And it was the truth. Greg's body radiated enough heat to keep us both warm, even on chilly evenings like tonight. I pointed across the street. "Esmeralda's lights are all still on. Is she doing a reading tonight?"
"That's what I hear."
Greg's voice held some emotion that I couldn't place. I turned to look at him. "What's wrong?"
He leaned forward and put his forearms on his knees. Then after looking across the street at the house again, he turned to me. "You remember that kid that was swept away by a sneaker wave a few days ago?"
"It was awful. They never found the kid's body, right?" Sneaker waves were impossible to predict and surged high on the beach with deadly force. I watched Emma closely when she ran the beach loose. I rubbed my bare arms with my hands, not cold, but chilled from the memory. "So what does that have to do with Esmeralda's reading?"
"It's his parents that she's reading or talking to or whatever she does. I tried to talk her out of doing it, but you know Esmeralda. I even told her it was a conflict of interest." Greg rolled his shoulders and I placed my hand on his back, rubbing lightly.
"You don't believe she's really talking to the dead. How can it be a conflict of interest?" Jill tried to make out the shapes of the vehicles parked in front of the house. "Is one of those cars a Rolls Royce? How wealthy are the kid's parents?"
"Very. And that's what worries me about Esmeralda getting involved. If she helps them find the body, how did she know where it was? If she doesn't, maybe she's hiding something from the family and my station comes into question." He shook his head. "No matter what, the South Cove police look like fools or worse."
"I don't think that's true." Of course, I knew it was. Darla, our cub reporter for the local weekly paper and winery owner, would see the activity as a way to get an expose on the lack of a solid police force in South Cove. A great story for the newspaper she worked for, but a black mark against Greg.
"You're too nice sometimes." He kissed me. "I better get home if I'm going to get any sleep tonight. See you at nine?"
I grabbed his hand and pulled him closer. "About tomorrow ..."
Even in the dark, I could see his eyes close, girding himself from the news. "What now?"
"I kind of invited Nathan and Aunt Jackie and Harrold to come along." I said it really quickly, hoping he may not hear all the words.
"Then we need to take your Jeep instead of the truck." He kissed me on the top of my head and started down the stairs.
I walked to the edge of the porch. "That's it? You're not mad?"
He turned around, walking backward. "Don't get me wrong. I'm mad. There's just nothing we can do about it. I know how your aunt can be. And you're just too much of a softy to say no."
"You make me sound like a wimp." I leaned on the porch rail watching him.
He climbed into his truck and rolled down the window. "Honey, I don't have to make you sound like a wimp. When it comes to other people, you are a pushover. Everyone in town knows that. Now go inside and get some of that homework done so we can play hooky on Sunday and have a No Work Day for both of us."
The truck slowly backed out of the driveway.
"Maybe I don't have homework." I called after him.
The truck stopped and Greg popped his head out of the window opening. "Honey, you always have homework."
I watched as he drove away toward his apartment. We'd been dating for over two years and we still had our own places. Maybe if he was around more, I could finally break down and say those three little words.
Who was I kidding? My dog, Emma, stood beside me, watching the tail lights disappear. The sound of the engine must have woken her. Greg was her favorite person. At least after me. Or that was what I told myself. The golden retriever leaned into me.
"Come on girl, let's go inside. I need to finish reading a chapter in the business basics text." I opened the door, and Emma ran to her food dish. She put her paw in the empty bowl and scooted it toward me.
"Fine, I'll read as soon as I feed you. Again. Seriously, dude, you must have a hollow leg." As I filled her dish with dry food, I could almost hear her response. "Just a growing puppy, Jill." Except my dog wasn't a puppy anymore and of course, she didn't talk.
I curled up on the couch and opened the large textbook. I'd thought law school was boring. This business stuff made the law look like a frat brother's first semester party. I looked at the advance reader's copy of the latest Robyn Carr release I'd brought home from the bookstore and sighed.
Then I went back to the text. Two more years of this and I'd have my degree. If I didn't die of boredom before graduation. Talking about numbers and statistics just made me shiver. And not in a good way.
Finished with my chapter, I closed the book and went to the front door to make sure it was locked before heading up to bed. People were leaving Esmeralda's and I could see my neighbor standing in the light of her front door, watching them. She looked drained, even from this distance in the dark. As if she could see me watching her, her head raised and she looked over at my house. If I could be certain in the darkening light, I would have said the hard-as-nails police dispatcher and part-time fortuneteller was crying.CHAPTER 2
The next morning, I was still working on my-way-too long reading list for school when Greg came in through the kitchen door. He put a bag of groceries on the counter and started unloading.
"You could kiss me first." I leaned my head back so I could see him working.
He stopped what he was doing, walked over to the table, and planted a smacker on my lips. Then he went back to unpacking the groceries. "I didn't want to disturb you while you were reading. I picked up some stuff for dinner. I figure you'll want to eat at home to increase your study time." He wagged the packages of steak near my nose. "I'll even cook."
Now, I smelled a rat. Well, I smelled beef, but also, a rat. "So, what do you want in return?"
Excerpted from Hospitality and Homicide by LYNN CAHOON. Copyright © 2017 Lynn Cahoon. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A good book doesn't need to be high brow to be highly enjoyable. Love these series from Ms. Cahooon. Hope more become available very soon.
Totally enjoyable. I love this series and will buy more.
A fun addition. This series is so enjoyable.
I really enjoyed this book. Author Nathan Pike comes to town to do research for his book. But when a body turns up exactly like the murder scene in his draft, a whole new research begins to who did it. I really loved seeing Jill's character growing and developing. She's going to school to learn more about business and she has decisions to make in her personal life. The mystery was excellent and kept me guessing. I look forward to the next in this series.
Enjoyed the story.
I enjoyed another visit to South Cover, California as well as to Coffee, Books and More. This small tourist town is the kind of place I would love to visit. There is a lot going on, some planned and some not, such as the murder of one of the local Bed & Breakfast places in town. Once again, Jill is involved in the business group when she meets up with the newest business owner, Ian, who has opened a clock repair business. As well she hears some grumbling about Walter's B&B not doing as well as he hoped. There is also an author in town to do an event and book signing as well as ride along with Greg, a detective and Jill's boyfriend. When Walter ends up dead, trussed to a tree, Nate, the author is the first suspect. You see, this was the way he had written a murder in his upcoming book. Of course, Jill sticks her nose in where it doesn't belong and puts herself in some danger. There is a side story going on where there is a missing boy and Esmerelda, the psychic, insists he is still alive. This is the 8th book in "A Tourist Trap Mystery" series and I love how the characters lives are changing and progressing. Jill and Greg are really heating up with a big decision in this book. Sasha is moving and leaving the store, putting Toby at odds. We will see what happens in the next book. Aunt Jackie and her beau seem to be happy and their relationship is going well. Emma, Jill's dog also plays an important role in this story. Not only is she a great pet, but she has a great nose and protective instinct. Esmeralda, the quirky one, played a bigger role in this story with the missing boy. Even though it was a secondary story line, it was a nice addition and one I was interested in. All the great characters make you identify with the town and rounds out the story. It is more than just a mystery. I had a pretty good idea who the killer was, but it was interesting to discover why he decided to kill the B&B owner. Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The pacing was great, the story line well developed, great characters and setting, a bit of romance, some light humor and a satisfying conclusion. A great book for any cozy mystery lover.
Love the series. The characters seem like old friends at this point. I was somewhat disappointed this time, though. The author doesn't give clues so you can figure it out. Instead, she just gives a story and suddenly announces who the killer is. Stephanie Clanahan
This long running series remains an engaging favorite. The main set of characters, including coffee shop/bookstore owner Jill Gardener, have managed to grow and mature so much over the course of the books, that it turns out, that's half the fun of each visit to South Cove. It doesn't even matter that you don't want to get to attached to anyone very new in town--whether they're a tourist, a new business owner or a food truck owner, they may not be around for long. This time, a big time author is in town to work on his book, but a murder eerily echoes a scene in his manuscript. Jill barely has enough time to read while on shift, much less track down murderers, but as usual, winds up being an integral part of the solution.
Title: Hospitality and Homicide - Tourist Trap Mystery Book 8 Author: Lynn Cahoon Publisher: Kensington Books Published: 5-16-2017 Pages: 188 Genre: Mystery, Thrillers & Suspense Sub-Genre: Private Investigator; Crafts & Hobbies; ISBN: 9781601836335 ASIN: B01E2H1NKC Reviewed For NetGalley and Kensington Books Reviewer: DelAnne Rating: 4.5 Starts I always enjoy visiting South Cove and stopping by Jill's bookstore and Coffee Shop. I get a tasty chai tea, a new book and catch up on the latest gossip. Seems mystery author Nathan Pike was staying at the local B&B writing his latest book when the owner of a rival B&B is found murdered following the scenes from Nathan's manuscript. Jill is convinced Nathan is innocent and is investigating herself to find the real killer. So far she is getting some lies and stalling, but she thinks she may have some leads. This is a series that you are bound to fall in love with. The people are believable and ones you will come to think of as friends. You can see the scenes so clearly that you will think the place and businesses are places you can visit. My rating of "Hospitality and Homicide" is 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Can't wait for next one in this series.
This is the eighth installment of the “Tourist Trap Mystery” series. The author has created a series that is fun to read, has a great pace, has characters that are well developed, and a cozy mystery environment. Jill Gardner lives and works in South Cove, California. Her store, “Coffee, Books and More” keeps her busy, but not too busy to let curiosity get the better of her. Detective Greg King; and Jill’s boyfriend, is not too pleased when a “Castle-esk” mystery writer by the name of Nathan Pike arrives in town to work on his latest novel. Nathan has chosen Greg to be his “muse” and will be shadowing him for the next month. Things get a bit uncomfortable when Greg brings up to Jill the idea of moving in together. Jill is unprepared to respond and is actually pleased he’s called away to a crime scene. Jill later learns that a fellow merchant, Walter Knicely; owner of the Beal Street B&B was found murdered. Life is never dull in South Cove.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review. It is always fun to visit South Cove, California and see what Jill Gardner, owner of Coffee, Books and More is up to. She has a way of stumbling or walking into trouble, usually involving a murder, much to the frustration of her boyfriend and Police Chief, Greg King. There are changes afoot in the lives of Jill and Greg that involve taking the next step in their relationship, changes that Jill is not sure she is ready to make. Sasha is finishing up her third year of college and has been offered an internship that will take her to the city. This is a great opportunity that could lead into a full time job after her final year of college. However, this throws a monkey wrench in her relationship with Toby and leaves Jill in need of finding a replacement for her in the shop. South Cove is growing with a new business and a produce stand. And of course there is a murder to solve and a missing boy to find. Mystery writer Nathan Pike is in town to spend some time working on his new book as well as do a book signing at Coffee, Books, and More. He becomes a suspect in the murder when the murder scene is similar to a scene in his new book. There is always an adventure in South Cove that involves Jill putting on her sleuthing hat. This is another fun cozy mystery in the Tourist Trap series.
Just LOVED it. Lynn Cahoon has the "cozy feel" down pat as she writes about South Cove and and Jill Gardner, proprietor of Coffee, Books, and More. This is the second book of the series I've read. I'm coming to believe that the characters are living, breathing, to the point of writing themselves. Several characters fall into the quirky category, but as you read, the character grows and change until you can't help but like them. I didn't like Aunt Jackie at first, but she's growing on me. Esmeralda is another character that at first the author encourages the reader to question and dislike, yet the character won't settle for that treatment. Love the way Cahoon shows that a love like Harrold's can actually change someone for the better. Another technique Cahoon employs to make her characters real is to have a slew of personal crises going on at same time, giving the book real-life effect and fun layering. Jill/Greg, Toby/Sasha, Josh/Mandy, Nate/anybody. In some novels, this could be tedious. In this case, the book just becomes a great mesh of a entertwining threads to produce a beautiful tapestry. All in all, this style of cozy makes me want to cheer and look anxiously for the date of the next book's publication. I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. That did not affect the opinions presented in my review, for which I am solely responsible.
Hospitality and Homicide by Lynn Cahoon is the latest installment in the Tourist Trap series and is a well-crafted cozy mystery. The author has good characters with great personality quirks, some you love and some you love to hate. In Hospitality and Homicide there are two mysteries. A murder and a young boy who has gone missing without a clue after being shot out to sea on a sneaker wave. Town psychic/police dispatcher insists the young boy is still alive giving the family hope that is not shared by the police chief/boyfriend of the main character/sleuth, Jill. I enjoyed this book. I plan to go back and read some of the others in the series, but the great thing is that even though I haven't read them all, they definitely are standalone books. I was given this book by NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Jill Gardner, owner of Coffee, Books & More in South Cove, CA is having an author book signing featuring popular author Nathan Pike. Jill's officer boyfriend Greg is forced to allow Nathan to shadow him as he works to allow the author to learn all about police work to authenticate his writing for his book, which puts a strain on their relationship. It's not long before a body is found in the same manner Nathan is writing about in his current manuscript. Esmeralda is also playing a big role in this book as she searches wildly for a missing child. Everyone feels the child is no longer alive, except Esmeralda who is told by the spirits that the child has not yet passed over. Can Jill help Esmeralda keep her job, find the child and discover the killer without getting in deep water herself? I have loved this series from the first time I stumbled upon "Guidebook to Murder," the first in this series. I always enjoy going back to South Cove and visiting with my friends even though I know that something bad is going to happen to someone. I will say that often i am desperately trying to follow the clues to figure out who the killer is. This time I suspected early on and was never dissuaded from my original thought. Normally, this would bother me in a mystery. Not in this case. Lynn Cahoon immerses you into the story and the people in it so thoroughly that I was riding a emotional roller coaster much of the time. i didn't have time to worry about anything but the people she has placed in South Cove.
Lynn Cahoon's Hospitality and Homicide South Cove, California is the home of Jill Gardner. Jill runs a Coffee and Book shop with her aunt. They are hosting the popular mystery writer, Nathan Pike for a book signing event. He will be spending time in town to write his next book plus spend time with Detective Greg King to experience real police work in action for his book writing. The owner of a local Bed and Breakfast is found murder. He was murdered exactly as a character in the author's draft for his next book. Jill is kept busy studying for her exams, interviewing people for the shop, keeping an eye on her psychic neighbor, deciding whether she and Greg should live together plus investigating the murder to prove the author's innocence. Her psychic neighbor believe a missing boy is alive and is trying to locate him after everyone else gave up on finding him. Emma, Jill's dog plays an active part in helping solve one of the mysteries. The story is fast paced with interesting, colorful and well written characters. It has plenty of suspense, humor and a touch of romance. This is book # 8 in the Tourist Trap Mystery series. It can be read as a stand alone. Good read!! I volunteered to read this eBook. Thanks to Lyrical Underground and Kensington Books via Net Gallery for the opportunity. My opinion is my own.
Hospitality and Homicide: A Tourist Trap Mystery Author: Lynn Cahoon Publisher: Lyrical Underground South Cove, California, is beautiful and filled with everything a visitor could want from a seaside town. Jill Gardner knows the town's attraction and enjoys living in the small busy place. She is the owner of Coffee, Books, and More a combination bookstore and coffee house, and occasionally she would be dragged into the middle of a murder investigation, this time she is also involved in a case of a missing child. When mystery author Nathan Pike checks into South Cove Bed & Breakfast to write his latest novel, everyone is happy to see him, but when he is accused of murder, they may have a change of heart. Jill feels the need to prove Nathan’s innocence and find the killer. -- This is the 8th book in the Tourist Trap Mystery series for Lynn Cahoon. It is a fast paced read with very well rounded characters and a compelling storyline. The location is attractive, and the author brings the town to life with her vivid detail. The characters are all nicely developed with Aunt Jackie and Jill being the heart of the story. Jackie has a way of handling things and people that allow Jill the freedom to do what she wants with her life and her business, and still keep the store running smoothly. This allows Jill the time to work on her school work and investigate a murder. While looking into the murder of a fellow business owner, Jill also begins to develop a relationship with her neighbor, physic and police receptionist Esmeralda and is concerned about her recent behavior. In unraveling the murder and discovering the killer’s identity, Jill also comes to a decision regarding her relationship with Greg. This is an enjoyable read, fast paced with lots of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. It is written well and keeps the plot moving forward. This book and series is highly recommended and should appeal to anyone who likes romance with their mystery.
Hospitality and Homicide by Lynn Cahoon is the eighth book in A Tourist Trap Mystery series. Jill Gardner lives in South Cove, California and owns Coffee, Books and More. Nathan Pike, mystery author, has arrived back in town to work on his latest novel. He will be staying at the South Cove Bed and Breakfast. Greg King, South Cove PD’s only detective and Jill’s boyfriend, is less thrilled with his presence since Nathan will be shadowing him for the next month. On the weekend, Jill, Greg, Aunt Jackie and her beau, Harold along with Nathan visit the Jensen Farm. There is an old olive tree on the property that is called the Judas tree (scene of several suicides). One evening Greg and Jill are preparing to cook dinner when Greg brings up the idea of them moving in together. Jill is unprepared for Greg’s suggestion and glad when he is called away to a crime scene. Jill later hears that the owner of the Beal Street B&B, Walter Knicely, was found murdered on the Judas tree. It turns out that the scene was staged just like a scene in the novel Nathan is writing. Nathan becomes a prime suspect in Walter’s death. Jill’s curiosity soon has her working to solve this latest murder. But Jill cannot devote all her time to the case. She is contemplating letting Greg move in with her. Jill is not sure if she is ready for such a big step (she has yet to tell Greg those three special words). Of course, everyone in town has an opinion (and has placed a bet on the outcome). Then there is the missing boy and interviewing perspective employees. Life is never dull in South Cove. Hospitality and Homicide is easy to read, and it has a good pace. Ms. Cahoon has a lovely, conversational writing style. It was nice to revisit the characters in the series and see how they are getting along. I found Hospitality and Homicide to have more of the cozy element than most cozy mysteries. More time is devoted to Jill working, going to school, jogging, dating, walking Emma and eating. We get to see how Aunt Jackie is faring with her new beau, check up on the romance between Sasha and Toby, and discover Esmerelda’s problem with her latest client. The mystery was very simple and extremely easy to solve. The suspect pool is exceedingly limited. The motive for the murder is feeble. The books in A Tourist Trap Mystery series are best read in order. Otherwise, you will be a little bewildered (missing important bits of information). I give Hospitality and Homicide 3 out of 5 stars. Several things are repeated throughout the book (examples: Jill’s dislike of her business class, Jill states she is afraid of Aunt Jackie’s wrath when she is late or forgets something, Jill being afraid to commit to Greg or say I love you to him). I found a couple of contradictions in the book. Nathan Pike’s character is described one way at the beginning of the story (afraid of crowds for example) and later is very chatty and a charmer. I found the case of the missing child to be confusing. At one point, it is stated that the courts have declared the young boy to be dead which was why the police were no longer looking for him. Later, it seems the boy has only been missing a short time (days). Which is it? I am hoping for a more complex mystery and more attention to details in Killer Party, the next book in A Tourist Trap Mystery series.
When I open one of the Tourist Trap books, I feel like I'm catching up with old friends. Jill Gardner is fiercely independent, however, she is working on her commitment fears in this story. When author Nathan Pike visits their quiet town, Detective Greg King isn't excited that the well-known author will be his shadow. For the next Mon, Nathan Pike will follow Greg while on the job. The author prefers to experience what his characters will go through, it keeps the creative juices flowing. What Nathan doesn't expect is to be smack dab in the middle of a real life murder. The story flowed smoothly and I read this book from cover to cover in a few hours. I voluntarily read an ARC of this book provided by the publisher and NetGalley.
Jill Gardner, owner of Coffee, Books and More, has a lot on her plate. She’s taking business classes, finding a replacement for her best worker, and deciding whether to move in with her boyfriend, police detective Greg King. On top of that, mystery author Nathan Pike is in town writing his latest novel. When a Bed and Breakfast owner is killed the same way Nathan wrote in his book, Jill is investigating to find the truth before Nathan is arrested. This is a light cozy mystery read. Jill hears about the murder and doesn’t witness it herself or find the body. The characters are wonderfully wacky, and the scenic views deliciously described. The interaction between Jill and Greg gave the story a cute romantic subplot that was endearing. I can’t wait to read the next installment. An Advanced Reading Copy was received in exchange for an honest review.
Wow! If I knew how much I was missing in this series, I would have started it a long time ago! This is an exciting mystery with a delightful romance woven throughout. The setting of South Cove, California sounds gorgeous with the ocean nearby – I already want to go there in armchair land, and Jill’s store, Coffee, Books and More sounds like a place I would really love. Jill’s Aunt Jackie is manager of the book store and coffee shop while Jill is studying for a business degree. She has practiced as an attorney, but left the law for a business of her own. Now that she has the shop, Jackie helped her see how she could benefit from classes in business management. She is studying for final exams before summer break, and life is as topsy-turvy as ever. Jill has been dating Greg, a police detective, for a couple years. He wants to know if she is ready for them to live together. A commitment-phobe, Jill won’t commit to anything yet other than thinking about it. Nathan Pike, a well-known author, is in town to stage his next thriller there. The mayor gave him full run of the police station, including asking any questions of Greg. Nathan had run a scenario for where a murderer leaves a victim by Greg to see if it could work. Unfortunately, he body of Walter, owner of Beal Street Bed and Breakfast is found murdered in the exact place and position from Nathan’s draft. Greg doesn’t want Jill involved in his investigations, despite her love of solving puzzles. He won’t discuss open cases with her; his deputy and her part time barista is not allowed to, either. She really does a good job of trying to stay out of it…after all, she has exams, a valuable part-time employee to replace, and of course, make a decision on whether to live together with Greg. Little tidbits keep dropping in her lap, including the mother of a student in one of Jill’s classes offering information. Just asking a few questions here and there, places she has to go anyway, can’t hurt anything…can it? I like Jill and her friends! She has many contacts in the community, especially since she is on the city council and the business to business group. At first it seems like there are too many people to remember, but the author has a special place in the community for each one. Most are likeable, a few like Esmerelda, who does psychic readings part time while working as a police dispatcher full time, are eccentric. Aunt Jackie sounds like a real triple Type A personality. When I begin to read from earlier mysteries, I will learn much more about her before dating Harrold, who does his best to temper her. The primary characters are very well-defined, and others are as much as necessary for their roles. Oh, and Emma – love Jill’s large pup, Emma, her companion, running partner, and a gift from Greg from their early dating days. The plot grabbed and held on to my attention from the beginning (or maybe it is the coffee)? There are surprising twists and turns every time it seemed that this reader knew who might be the bad guy/ gal, keeping me on my armchair sleuth toes. There was a red herring that seemed to come out of left field, until the true bad guy/ gal took me by complete surprise. The solution is astonishing, wrapping up a mystery that was by turns fun and breathtaking. I highly recommend Hospitality and Homicide; there is never a dull moment when Jill is on the scene! From a grateful heart: I received this eBook from the publisher and NetGalley and this is my honest review.
Jill Gardner lives in South Cove. This lovely coastal town is filled with charm and good people except for the person who murdered Walter Knicely. Jill is busy with her store and her college courses. Her relationship with Greg King is moving to the next level. But that doesn't stop her from investigating the crime. Can she help find who did it? I like Jill. She's a smart and caring woman who knows how to get people to confide in her. Greg is a South Cove police detective. He's a patient and loving man who is dedicated to his job and to Jill. They make a great couple. These characters are easy to care for. I felt as if I knew them as well as the rest of the town's people. This mystery is well written and has a multitude of suspects. Lynn Cahoon has written a suspenseful story with some unexpected twists that kept me guessing until the very end. The romance between Jill and Greg is romantic and adds a sweet touch to this cozy mystery. I'm enjoying The Tourist Trap Mysteries. I'm looking forward to more cozy mysteries in South Cove. I received a copy of this book which I voluntarily read. My comments are my honest opinion.
I very rarely respond to rate things. And my mother once said if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. However, I cannot help myself in the case of the Tourist Trap mysteries by Lynn Cahoon. Clearly, Ms. Cahoon is obsessive/compulsive about eating. Every other sentence (it seems) in these books is about shoving something into your mouth. It really gets laughable or possibly pathetic. If the heroine really ate what is written, she has to weigh in at 300 pounds notwithstanding her running ability with her dog. The mystery plot is so thin that I find it hard to accept the works as part of the mystery genre. I would urge Ms. Cahoon to let up on the food and add more to plotting a better story line. Really, Lynn, when you start to key in the word “cheesecake” on your computer, stop and think that we, the readers, just might be full.