Review: Island Blues is the second mystery in this series by Wendy Howell Mills that features former Cincinnati native Sabrina Dunsweeney. The series is set on fictional Comico Island, situated (presumably) somewhere in the Caribbean though its actual location is not important to the story.
Idyllic Comico Island is experiencing both the joy and pain of increased tourist trade. To investigate and attempt to resolve local complaints and problems, Sabrina is hired as the island's ombudsman. First up: a number of burglaries that are unique in that nothing is missing have the authorities puzzled. Could these break-ins have anything to do with an organization representing "Hummers", people who hear a persistent noise likened to a diesel motor idling, who have booked a local hotel for the week? When Sabrina asks what the hum is, the spokesman for the organization replies matter-of-factly, "the voice of the universe".
That same spokesman is later found murdered on a nearby isolated island offering Sabrina an opportunity to use her amateur sleuthing skills. Though the story tends to meander in places and the back stories are at times unnecessarily confusing, Mills does a fine job keeping the reader's interest while Sabrina goes about gathering information that will help her solve both the puzzle of the burglaries and the mystery of the murder.
The cast of characters, while decidedly odd and just a little bit exaggerated, is for the most part sympathetic and endearing. And the book concludes in an unexpected, thought-provoking way. It's a nice touch.
Island Blues likely won't appeal to all traditional mystery fans, but it is a pleasant way to escape the real world for a while.
Acknowledgment: Poisoned Pen Press provided an ARC of Island Blues for this review.
Review Copyright © 2007 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Island Blues: Cincinnati, Ohio, Caribbean Islands
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Island Blues by Wendy Howell Mills — A Sabrina Dunsweeney Mystery
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: April 2007
List Price: $24.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
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