5 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful
Emily F. (Raineth) reviewed Death in the Off-Season (Merry Folger, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 2
When Rusty Mason, scion of one of Nantucket's oldest and wealthiest families, is found dead in a flooded cranberry bog one foggy fall night, thirty-two-year-old Meredith Folger is faced with her first murder case. Rusty, it seems, has been absent from the country for over a decade--ever since he was indicted for securities fraud. No one expected him to show up that night. No one, that is, except his killer.
Francine Mathews writes excellent historical thrillers (Jack 1939, Too Bad to Die) that I always look forward to reading, so when a trusted source told me that she'd also written a police procedural series set on Nantucket Island, I knew I had to read at least one. After turning the last page on Death in the Off-Season, I know I'll be reading the rest of the series.
What's to like? First off, there's the setting of Nantucket Island. Although I've always been curious about Nantucket, I'd never read a book set there, so I really enjoyed Mathews' descriptions of the landscape and the weather, as well as information on growing and harvesting cranberries. Since Merry Folger and her family have deep roots on the island, Mathews also includes a bit of Nantucket history and geneaology. None of this is done in a heavy-handed manner, and all of it combines to add a strong foundation as well as charm to the story.
Something else to like about Death in the Off-Season is main character Meredith Abiah Folger. (How's that for a strong New England name?) She's smart, she's strong, and she certainly has good instincts. What holds her back is an overprotective father who also happens to be her boss. His desire to keep his daughter from harm not only makes Merry angry, it also causes her to hesitate, to doubt herself. Fortunately for her, Merry also has a wonderful grandfather who's loving, yet no-nonsense. He listens to her and gives her sound advice. (Now if he'd only set his son straight!) The only thing that appears to be wrong with Merry's grandfather is his tendency to turn their home into an episode of "Hoarders."
Mathews' cast of characters is a very strong one-- not only Merry's family, but several townspeople and friends as well. In fact one of the townspeople on Merry's list of suspects may turn out to be of romantic interest in future books.
Setting? Check! Characters? Check! So what about the story, the mystery, the whodunnit? I have one word for it: brilliant. The plot weaves people and secrets together in such a way that I never saw the identity of the killer coming. Plot? Check!
Now you understand why I want to read the rest of the books in this series, don't you?
Labor Day finds Nantucket shrouded in fog and Rusty Mason drowned in his brother's cranberry bog. Rusty has been out of the country for ten years--fleeing the law and the family wounds he left behind. Rookie detective Meredith Folger has to decide whether Rusty's killer mistook him for his brother--or whether Peter Mason murdered Rusty himself.