Pippa Winterbourne runs Moorehaven, the home of the late famous mystery writer A. Raymond Moore, as a B&B dedicated to allowing mystery writers to work on their books in Smugglers and Scones by Morgan C. Talbot. One night Pippa hears a loud crash, only to run outside to find a ship that has run into the rocks on the Oregon coast. Managing to save the life of the sailor on board by pulling him to safety with a life ring, Pippa takes the sailor, named Lake, back to Moorehaven to recover from his concussion. But the next morning, the police chief comes ready to arrest Lake because the divers discovered the body of Cecil, Lake’s boss, owner of the fishing and touring ship, and he has been murdered with a blow to the head. But Pippa is determined to prevent Lake from getting arrested, certain he is innocent.
The writers at Moorehaven excitedly throw themselves into the real-life mystery as a chance to do research on how people react to various events and how real detectives act. So they team up with Pippa to investigate. The research quickly leads the investigators to look into events from the era of Prohibition and the speakeasy hidden below the town’s only nightclub. Longtime rumors of a hidden treasure also resurface, gaining traction as reality. And in the meantime, Pippa finds herself drawn further to Lake, whose charm makes her all the more determined to find the truth.
I came across this book by accident, and I am ever so glad I did. This book has such a creative plot and setting, and I loved the characters as well. The mystery plot took interesting twists and turns, and I found the details of their researching Prohibition to be fascinating.
Besides the fantastic plot and setting, the characters really were lively. I loved the authors, each of whom has a very unique personality and reaction to the mystery. It is fun to see them seeking out personal experiences to make their books more realistic. I had to laugh when Al purposely picks a fight with the head of a motorcycle gang to see how the man would react, especially the way Al seems to have researched the various gangs in the area to figure out which group was least likely to kill him. I also enjoyed the way that the local women create a bond and also work together to support each other. In addition, I enjoyed the minor character of Chloe, a goth girl recently kicked out of college and doing an unpaid internship at Moorehaven with surprising, unexpected skills.
One detail I really loved about this book is that each chapter is introduced by a supposed quote by Moore as if he were a real writer and not fictional. The quotes come across as amusing and full of fun quips that fit with the chapter. What makes the quotes seem even more legitimate is the use of dates for each quote too.
I enjoyed the performance of Amina Cee in the audio edition of this book. She uses great voices for each character that suit each one’s unique personality. In addition, she uses effective inflections that create great depictions of the elements of the book.
Smugglers and Scones turned out to be a creative, exciting book that I greatly loved listening to. I liked the details of the book and the fun humor that appears throughout the whole book. There is a lot of fun word play as well as creative details. I really hope that Talbot writes more books in this series because I already am deeply invested in the characters and setting after just one book. I give this book five stars!
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