An early review for this new series claims "The feel of "Murder She Wrote" with the modern swing and excitement of "Castle." That is quite a claim! I'm don't think I would characterize it that way. Find out more about this new Greek restaurant themed cozy mystery.
Copyright: January 2015 (Berkley) 304 pgs
Series: 1st in Greek to Me Mystery series
Sensuality: mild kissing, unhappy marriage situation
Mystery Sub-genre: Amateur Sleuth
Main Characters: Georgie Nikolopatos, manager of the historic Bonaparte House Restaurant
Setting: modern day, Bonaparte Bay in upstate New York
Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review
Georgie's husband, Spiro, has been MIA for days, which he does from time-to-time. Thus, Georgie is busy running the Greek restaurant her husband and his mother co-own. She also has to coordinate with the crew of the TV show Ghost Squad, who received a tip from Spiro their restaurant/house is haunted. She and her mother-in-law need to clear out for the night so the Ghost Squad crew can have the house overnight to themselves, but what was supposed to be a pleasant evening at a spa retreat ends up with Georgie discovering the body of rival restaurant owner Domenic “Big Dom” DiTomasso floating in the water.
Spiro's continued absence becomes a matter of concern when Georgie gets a ransom demand to deliver the rumored long lost Bonaparte treasure if she ever wants to see him again. To top it all off, the police investigating Big Dom's murder clearly suspect Georgie, and now she has a hunky Naval officer investigating too. It’s up to her to find her missing husband and determine who killed Big Dom before this bad situation gets worse.
Georgie is married to a gay man while living and working in a historic home turned restaurant with her mother in law, but she is ready to change her life. She is an older than usual character with a grown daughter and has the foundation to be a great character. But she placed herself in danger too many times when clearly it was illogical. Sophie, her mother-in-law, is one of those family members with double standards for her son versus for her daughter-in-law but is nonetheless a spirited and kind lady. Inky, the flamboyant tattoo artist that husband Spiro has feelings for, is a quirky and fun character. Navy Captain Jack sounds like Lieutenant Commander "Harm" Rabb from the TV show JAG to me and his character was the breakout performance of the book.
Bonaparte Bay is the epitome of a small town where gossip runs rampant and is the town sport. A nice job was done with creating a real sense of the town with the history of Napoleon's brother and the Pirate days festivities. The location became vital to the entire story and that is a feature that I particularly enjoy in a novel. Kudos.
The plot hinged on the rumor of a treasure awaiting Napoleon in the house that was reportedly built for him by his brother in the event of a successful escape from Elba. The house has long been the restaurant/family home and Spiro's disappearance is tied to a desperate person insisting on the treasure. Who doesn't love a treasure hunt story? Napoleon's mythic fall and very real supporters who tried to break him out of exile are great to fuel the imagination. The pacing maintained a good clip, but I do have to mention a loose end with Spiro never getting any real consequences for some actions of his. That was a fly in the ointment for me.
Another point I must mention is the humor. The book has some quite funny scenes, but I felt the humorous situations resulted from uncharacteristic behavior to accomplish the laughs. I can't give details without some spoilers, so I will leave it at that.
The climax had a bit of suspense and daring action, which I always prefer. The wrap-up leaves some tantalizing hints for the next book.
Ratings: Good - A fun read with minor flaws that cozy fans will likely enjoy.