Death, Island Style
by Maggie Toussaint
Review by Mel Jacob
Five Star Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781432825669
Date: 07 March 2012 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Fleeing from the death of her husband and her mother, MaryBeth Cashour buys a craft store on Sandy Shores, a small island off the Georgia coast. Death follows her there when she finds a dead stranger floating in the surf. Then, the police discover a connection between her and the dead man, and she becomes a suspect. To add to her trouble, the police suspect her husband isn't dead and has connections either to the CIA or to the underworld.
MaryBeth's husband's body was never found. He left her a mountain of debts and no money. She managed to sell their foreclosed home and his possessions to clear the debts. Almost destitute she returns home to her mother only to find her dying of cancer. After her mother's death, she sells the house and furniture and goes to Sandy Shores. She also learns she was adopted, something her mother never told her.
Her confidence in tatters, she struggles to manage the business she bought and to build a new life. Unused to making decisions, she finds the transition difficult. After she finds the dead man and becomes a suspect, her problems compound. Determined to clear her name, she tries to contact an old friend of her husband and his employer. They are less than helpful.
Eventually, she is shown a picture of the dead man, and she realizes she has seen him before, but can't remember when. A series of crank calls and the disappearance of odd things add to her unease. She believes someone is stalking her.
Russ Marchone, the dour pharmacist next door and an ex-military man, provides the romantic interest MaryBeth does her best to resist. He helps her several times and initially maintains his distance. Eventually, the romance heats up, but never boils.
An accomplished and award winning writer, Toussaint has seven novels out and an eighth, Murder in the Buff, will follow. Most cozy readers will enjoy Death, Island Style and look forward to Toussaint's next.