I used to read constantly in high school. I had a book in my face between classes, in class after lectures, and during my ride on the school bus every morning and afternoon. I stopped reading for a few years, but when I picked the hobby back up, I read a lot of cozy mysteries. Sure there’s murder and backstabbing, but a cozy mystery isn’t like a bloody thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat. A Killer in King’s Cove is pretty darn cozy first book to the Lane Winslow series, and it was a nostalgic read for me.
It is 1946 in the wilds of British Columbia. Lane Winslow, a British ex-intelligence officer, has moved from England to British Columbia, Canada for some much-needed relaxation. Lane bought a house in a small, rural community so that she could start her life over. Unmarried and only in her mid-twenties, Lane is a curiosity in her new community. Just as she is beginning to settle in, a man’s body is found in a stream near her home. The body lacks any identification, but within its pocket is a single piece of paper with Lane’s name on it. As the local police get involved, Lane finds it harder and harder not to reveal her past life.
A Killer in King’s Cove has a good cast of characters. Most of the characters are older than Lane, and have lived in the community for quite some time. So, as you might guess, there’s a good bit of gossip always going around between the residents. Lane is very much the outsider to them, but she is welcomed for the most part. She has a grouchy old man for her closest neighbor. There’s a few older couples, an old lady with a rifle who might be a bit mad, a house full of unmarried old women, and a family of Americans that most everyone dislikes to some extent. The characters fall into a few tropes, but they all have complex lives that extend beyond the book’s main plot. I can see many of them being front and center in subsequent books in the series. I liked Lane as a character, but she did not always make the best decisions. And, with Lane being so young and unmarried, there are of course some men chasing after her.
Unfortunately, the plot just isn’t the best. The first one hundred pages are primarily an introduction to Lane, her past, and her neighbors. The action takes off shortly after the one hundred page mark, but it all goes a bit predictably. The “bad guy” is quite obvious early on, the mystery itself is not very complex, and the romantic subplot goes as expected. It was all just OK. However, this is only the first book in a series about Lane Winslow, and I would imagine that the series gets better from here. I am unsure if I will continue the series, but I see potential in it. I am not very interested in cozy mysteries these days, but I enjoyed the small nostalgia trip this book gave me.