Cocktails at Five
A Charlene Parker mystery.
Another season is coming to a close and Charlene is relieved. How much longer can she do this before retiring she wonders? She turns 56 soon and Freedom 55 was so close she could taste it but it’s the Scotch she tastes. She has a dram or three as she works her muddled mind through the stress of work, two men in her heart and another death on her property. This time, it hits her hard.
Set mostly in northern Ontario at a cottage resort and partly in rural Nova Scotia at her old fixer-upper house, Cocktails at Five (book five in the Kirk Lake Camp series of books) features a former Hamilton police detective, Charlene, who would like most of all to spend the season just doing the never ending everyday chores of running a resort, but who seems to end up having to solve murders instead.
Then there are the guests. Not only are the trees too sappy, too messy, too numerous, the mosquitoes and black flies are too many and too pesky, the cabins are too rustic with too few luxuries, with too few televisions (as in none) and too expensive, the other guests are too loud, too drunk, too close, too present, the air temperature is too hot or too cold or too windy or not windy enough, the lake is too cold or too rough, with too few pickerel and bass, the wolf howls are too scary and too close, the black bears are too smelly and too scary and too close, the water snakes too skittish and scary and too close, the garter snakes too, too, too close, the red squirrels and blue jays too chattery and bossy and too close, and the guests' own families are too obnoxious, too stressful, too close.
It's enough to make Charlene want to head south back to a dark alley in the north end of Hamilton to chase a criminal in a hoodie (always a hoodie), with a gun, who is too scary, too mean, too drunk, too stoned, too hilarious, too stupid and too close.
Charlene can’t wait to get back to Nova Scotia and her old house in the quiet coastal village where there is never a murder, complaining guests or prying eyes. First she has to get cracking to solve this death for Sarah before she can leave it all behind and head east and start the freedom part of what's now Freedom 56.