reviewed by Cy Wyss
The Serenity Stone Murder is the story of Margaret and Louise, two women of a certain age who are taking a break from their small town of Jackpine, Ontario, to head to the big city of Thunder Bay. The scenery of the book involves breathtaking views of the north shore of Lake Superior, descriptions which I appreciated. The book has a bit of a hokey feel to it, the same feel I associate with much of Canadian art and music, but it’s a feel that I very much enjoy. The murder takes place in a church garden, the same church where Margaret and Louise are attending a women’s creativity retreat. If that sounds too hokey, no problem, it was for Margaret and she spends most of the book in more universally appealing pursuits like eating out, walking around the area, and shopping in many great boutiques.
I liked the Serenity Stone Murder a lot. The pace is quick but not overwhelming and the writing is smooth and flowing, with just the right amount of description and character development. All of the main characters were idiosyncratic enough without being untrue to life. I laughed at Louise having to stay at Bubbles, a run-down hotel with a strip club, and especially at the fact Louise turned it into a decent vacation and made a friend. Louise’s dog was also a character in the book, a nice one for some comic relief at times, and seriousness at others. The final solution came about relatively quickly (I would have liked more build up), but in general this was a seamless read and a couple afternoons worth of good, wholesome entertainment. Great job.