Nancy Gettelman's books are written with a distinct style. I always feel that I am in the midst of each of the books I've read, even though they are taking place in different places around the world and the mystery part of each book is very different. In this book, her characters are an enthusiastic group of friends new and old.
Sara and Robb Schneider are from Milwaukee, WI and headed to the International Convention of Brew Pub Owners being held in Victoria, BC. Robb, as owner/operator of a Craft Brewery, has attended some of these conventions before and is looking forward to seeing old friends. After leaving the cold of Wisconsin behind Sara is enchanted with Victoria at first sight. The city is already budding out with flowers everywhere. They've booked into the Empress Hotel, an old and very impressive structure, fit for royalty.
Meeting Robb's friends, Sara feels right at home, and is thrilled to learn that her new friends are planning on taking her sight-seeing. There is one sad fact overshadowing this adventure; their house guest's husband goes missing while sent to the north on a government project working with the Inuits. But she is determined to join the girls in showing Sara around. This plot-line runs as a thread throughout the first portion of the story while Sara continues to be enthralled with the beauty she sees all around. All but one of the wives are warm and friendly, but one seems tense and doesn't always accompany them. Her husband is about to go to the Alberta tar sands for a couple of weeks.
Nancy Gettleman's gift is to take us wherever her character goes, and see what she sees. The reader might as well be sitting right in the car with them, wandering through Butchart Gardens, or dining in the Bengal Room of the Empress. Though I've lived most of my life in Vancouver and often visited Victoria, I learned several new things, which I always enjoy in a book. This book is character driven, and even the location seems to be one of the characters. But wait. This is a murder mystery, not necessarily the victim you might expect, not necessarily the location you might expect and definitely not the method. What is the motive? What is the method? That is the mystery.