My latest find was Sea Change; A Nina Bannister Mystery by husband and wife team T'Gracie and Joe Reese. Sea Change is the first in a series of 7 books, so far. All 7 books are something Change - Sea Change, Set Change, Game Change etc.
"Bay St. Lucy is a sleepy little Gulf Coast community and that’s the way its residents like it. Most of them generally ignore the monstrous old Robinson mansion that sits in the center of town, until one day insane old man Robinson dies and leaves the house and its accompanying fortune to the town.
The residents are ecstatic and begin planning improved schools and cultural centers. Local retired school teacher and village elder Nina Bannister is sent to the man’s funeral in New Orleans to represent Bay St. Lucy at the reading of his will. However, Nina returns from her trip saddened to report that a lone Robinson relative has appeared to claim the entire inheritance. Almost immediately, the new owner–flamboyant Eve Ivory–arrives and announces her plans to turn Bay St. Lucy into an extravagant vacation resort. These are not plans that anyone in this small town likes at all, and ones that will quickly lead to murder."
Nina Bannister was a school teacher in Bay St. Lucy, and is now retired. Seems like she taught everyone in town that is younger than her. Everyone loves Nina. Her character reminds me of Jessica Fletcher in Murder She Wrote. She has the smarts and common sense for a lot of the town and is well respected. Her mode of transportation, rain or shine, is a Vespa. We often get to see what she is thinking in contrast to what she says, which is always politically correct. It is pretty funny. Her husband, Frank, passed away but she discusses things with him anyway. Another thing I loved about Nina is - guess what church she attends? The library! She goes there to think and sort things out when she is in the need of spiritual guidance. And who provides this spiritual guidance? Authors! In this book, it is Jane Austen. Jane helps her work out the mystery. :)
Nina's good friend is Margot Gavin who owns a shop with artwork, pottery, and knick knacks. Margot has retired to Bay St. Lucy after a career at the Art Institute of Chicago as the Managing Director. She is having a little trouble adjusting to a slower pace. She likes her martinis and cigarettes.
Then we have Penelope Royale. Nina goes fishing with her once a month. This description of her is great:
"She was a square block of granite, except harder. Everything about her was square. She was five feet tall and five feet wide and five feet deep. Her mouth, the wrinkles on her forehead, the wrinkles on her chin, were all perfectly horizontal, like lines of latitude. Nowhere on her body were there lines of longitude. She was a latitudinal human being, with no use for the ups and downs in life. She had flaming red hair, done in the manner of materials used in packing crates. Penelope was also the only woman Nina knew who spoke only in obscenities."
Now I will tell you that this book has no printed obscenities, only suggested.
Besides these great characters, each chapter starts with a quote from an author and have to do with writing. I will share a few because I really enjoyed them.
You can be a little ungrammatical if you come from the right part of the country.” Robert Frost
“If I didn’t know the ending of a story I wouldn’t begin. I always write my last line, my last page, my last paragraph, first.” Katherine Anne Porter
“The best time for planning a book is when you’re doing the dishes.” Agatha Christie (Do you think Agatha Christie did dishes?)
Nina keeps her head about her when everyone else is loosing theirs' and solves the mystery.
I will definitely read more of the Nina Bannister books.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. And I really liked it.