This novella, the first in author T.R. Rankin’s series (Matthew and Martha Mysteries), was a very enjoyable read. I felt absolutely transported back to the year 1898. Set on Martha’s Vineyard, this book features Capt. Matthew Reynolds, widower, and Mrs. Martha Dickinson, widow. [The fact that the characters have both my first and last names did not influence this reviewer’s opinion of the story!]
Early on, there is a tremendously destructive storm on the island, and while this story is fiction, the author cleverly draws from real-life events, in particular, the Great Portland Gale of 1898 in this case. The storm wreaks havoc on the vessels in harbor, and the description of the catastrophe is chilling. In the midst of all this mayhem, a body is discovered on one of the lime schooners, and Matthew and Martha become amateur detectives, assisting the police in tracing the events leading up to the man’s demise. It’s a fast-moving and exciting tale, and if you weren’t familiar with nautical terms and technology before, you likely will be very well versed in these subjects after you’ve finished the book! There is subtle yet undeniable chemistry between our main characters, and the author either did a great amount of research or is an expert in the workings of late 19th-century ships and schooners – the storytelling is very authentic.
There are some errors throughout that a good proofreader would have spotted, but they don’t detract from the story itself. And once in a while, a shift in scenes might be clearer with more of a break in the paragraphs, but overall it’s a well written tale of murder without gore.
As a bonus, Rankin gives the reader a ‘sneak peek’ at The Gilded Murder, the next installment in the Matthew and Martha mystery series. I can’t wait to start reading!
You can download a Kindle copy of Murder in the Limelight at Amazon (https://tinyurl.com/yc74unex).