Desert Isle Keeper
Late for the Wedding
The first two books in this series, Slightly Shady and Don’t Look Back, didn’t inspire me much; I passed them along after I finished reading them. I’m pleased to say that this one will be staying on my keeper shelf. Tobias and Lavinia have finally found their footing, which makes their relationship far more enjoyable. And Anthony and Emeline are also back for the fun, as well as some new characters that tie into already formed relationships.
Tobias and Lavinia escape to the country for a house party and look forward to the “freedom” the party will bring – ie, they look forward to sharing a bed. While Tobias waits for Lavinia to join him in his room, an old acquaintance from the past seeks him out. Aspasia Gray had a close personal relationship with Tobias’ former friend, Zachary Elland. Elland worked with Tobias as a spy before deciding a life of crime would provide more excitement. Tobias was close to charging him with murder when Elland unexpectedly killed himself. Aspasia has come to Tobias for help because someone has left a death head ring, known as a mememto-mori, at her home. Elland found it amusing to leave the same type of ring at the scene with his victims. Aspasia worries that someone is trying to fill Zachary’s murderous shoes.
Lavinia is not at all impressed with the beautiful Aspasia, but when a murder occurs at the house party, complete with the memento-mori ring at the scene, Lavinia cannot deny that the situation must be investigated. While Lavinia and Tobias are looking into the first murder, two more occur, with no apparent connection except the ring. Aspasia was correct about a murderer on the loose, but Lavinia does not trust Aspasia’s personal designs toward Tobias.
Emeline and Anthony are also drawn into the investigation, but they have their own mystery to solve involving a young man named Dominic Hood, who decides to pursue Emeline. The young man demonstrates an intense, almost violent dislike of Anthony.
The mystery of the memento-mori man took me by surprise with its intricate details and false leads. I had an inkling of who the killer might be, but when the mystery was finally solved, it definitely had a surprise twist!
Lavinia and Tobias delight in each other and provide a perfect counterpart to one another. The spark I look forward to in Amanda Quick’s books – a spark somehow missing from the previous books in this series – was definitely present here. Their banter was light and funny, and they accept each other as partners in the investigation as well as in their relationship. And it was amusing to see them taken to task by younger members of their families.
Quick did go slightly overboard in the description department, though, which occasionally threw me out of the story. When Lavinia reflects upon Tobias’ darker personality, she uses the phrases “deep wellspring of midnight” or “a deep pool of midnight” a couple of times, and at one point Tobias’ eyes are described as “fathomless seas of a roiling silvery-gray mist.” What? I want to meet someone in person whose eyes will do that! Anyway, it was strange enough that I actually stopped reading to make a note of it.
However, that truly was a minor irritation. In every other way that matters I enjoyed this book immensely. It was wonderful to read a book by this author that left me as captivated as this one did. I have many of her older books on my keeper shelf, but lately I’ve haven’t enjoyed her stories as much. This book showcased her tremendous talent, and I wholeheartedly recommend picking this one up!