Dash of Death (A Hemlock Falls Mystery #2) by Claudia Bishop
The is the second book in the Hemlock Falls Mysteries. In the first book, A Taste for Murder, we are introduced to the Quilliam sisters. Sarah “Quill” Quilliam is an artist in New York City, known as the next Georgia O’Keefe. She is starting to hit the big time, when she is stalled and has a block on what to paint next. Her younger sister, Meg, is an amazing chef also living in NYC. Around the time that Quill starts having trouble with her paintings, Meg’s husband is killed in an automobile accident.
Both women need a change of scene and travel up north to rural New York. While visiting the cute, country town; the two discover a historic inn for sale. They decide to buy it, run it, and take on this new path of life.
In the first book, the sisters find themselves having to battle unruly guests, deal with the town’s Historic Days festival, and complexities of trying to fit in in a small town. To make matters worse: someone is sabotaging the inn, a murder occurs, Quill’s friend flees and is accused, Meg is poisoned, and much more.
Now in book two, A Dash of Death. the sisters have cemented themselves a bit more into country life. Both have recovered from near misses in their last adventure, and are looking forward to the future. Unfortunately, the inn has not quite recovered as they are in need of a boost in guests and money. The group thinks they have found their salvation in TV sensation Helena Houndswood, star and creator of the show, It’s a Beautiful Life. Sadly for them, she turns out to have a major ego and becomes a huge headache for all parties.
But she is good for business. Her show has just run a million dollar prize competition, a china plate design, of which the winner is from Hemlock Falls. She decides to hold the whole show at the Quilliam’s inn. When news of this spreads, business starts booming for the sisters with all kinds of calls coming in.
But all is not rosy. It turns out that instead of one winner, there are five. All are blue-collar women and workers at the local paint factory. And all five are nowhere near what Helena views as classy. In fact she would rather they decline and remain anonymous than set foot on being her show.
When the winners start disappearing and having “accidental” deaths, Quill starts investigating as to who could be behind it all. Is it the jealous and abusive husband of one of the women? Could one of the women be getting rid of the others in order to increase her share? Could Helena be getting rid of them so they won’t “taint” her “beautiful” show? Or is someone else behind all this?
Quill starts searching for the truth, but finds herself joining the ranks of the hunted.
So I really enjoyed this book. It is better than the original as that one moved a tad slow, (it had more introductions to the characters and such). This one is the complete opposite as it is constantly moving, with ever-occuring action. It is an amazing mystery with so many twists and turns that you find it impossible to put down, the need to know the answer consuming you. And the end result it worth every bit. I highly encourage any mystery lover to check this out!!!
For more Hemlock Falls, go to A Taste for Murder