Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Feta Attraction - Susannah Hardy


Feta Attraction
A Greek To Me Mystery
Susannah Hardy
Berkley Prime Crime
 
Mystery
 
“When you marry a gay man, it shouldn’t come as a surprise when he leaves you.”  That opening line tells readers a lot about Georgie Nikolopatus.  What it doesn’t tell us is that she’s devoted her life to running the Bonaparte House, a historical house and restaurant owned by her mother-in-law, Sophie.  The husband in question, Spiro, is uninterested in working; as a restauranteur, or as anything else.  It doesn’t tell readers that Georgie and Spiro managed to produce a daughter who is now grown and living in Greece. 

That line does explain, quite succinctly, why Georgie isn’t too worried when Spiro disappears for a few days without a word to anyone.  He’s done this before, often.  Since he’s not any help, either in the kitchen or on the business side of things, his comings and goings don’t affect the day-to-day business.  When she starts getting anonymous emails along the lines of ‘bring it to me or you’ll be sorry,’ she doesn’t make the connection.  Finally, it becomes clear that Spiro has not disappeared under his own power; someone has him and is holding him for ransom.  That ransom is the ‘treasure’ long believed to be secreted inside the old house.  The problem is, no one has ever found it.

Once Georgie figures out the basics of what’s going on with Spiro, she makes one illogical decision after another.  She doesn’t call the police, ostensibly because she doesn’t want to upset her mother-in-law.  (There’s also the little wrinkle that the guy who runs the competing restaurant, and is courting Sophie, is found dead.  By Georgie and a friend.)  Despite her lack of any kind of investigative experience, Georgie decides to handle the whole thing on her own.  This naturally results in both hijinks and further complications.
 
What saves the story is that Georgie narrates it in first person.  She’s stressed and making decisions on the fly, trying to solve the immediate problem without worrying about what comes next.  The reader sees the flaws in this, but it’s easy to sympathize with her position.  Along the way, Georgie introduces the readers to a cast of characters that could make for a very solid series.  It’s a small town, but a tourist, town, meaning lots of traffic in and out; and lots of potential for future mysteries.  In the end, Georgie won me over, and I’ll be back for her next mystery.
 
 
Rating: 6
January 2015
ISBN# 978-0-425-27165-0 (paperback)

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