Wolf’s Head Inn

WolfsHeadInnTitle: Wolf’s Head Inn
Author: John Simpson
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Buy link: Amazon.com
Genre: Contemporary M/M, Mystery
Length: Novella (183 PDF pages)
Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

A guest review by Tj

Summary Review: A rather mild mannered murder mystery set on an isolated island off the Maine coast that left me wanting more insight into the characters.

The Blurb: Dale and Terry are very happy in their relationship, but both men hate their jobs. When the death of a distant relation drops a six-million-dollar windfall into Dale’s lap, they decide to buy a lovely bed and breakfast on secluded Wolf’s Head Island, Maine, and make a go of being innkeepers. For the New Year holiday season, Terry comes up with the idea of offering a “Murder Mystery Weekend” package. The venerable inn has a full house when an unexpected blizzard roars in, isolating the island from the rest of the world. But plans go ahead as scheduled… until they discover that the murder mystery may be more real than Dale and Terry had planned.

The Review: Our story begins with 29 year old Dale waiting for his lover of 5 years to get home from work so that he can share some shocking, but exciting news. It seems that Dale had inherited $6 million dollars and they were now very wealthy men. Woohoo! After some thought the guys decide to quit their jobs and buy an old inn on an island off of the Maine coast. I’m sure most of us have had the fantasy of wining the lottery and being able to quit our day jobs. Sounds like it should be a dream come true, no? Well… not so much for our boys, as things go horribly wrong during their murder mystery weekend.

I liked the blurb for this book and I expected to enjoy it, and I did – to a point. Although the story was interesting, I was disappointed in the focus on the details of the characters’ every move, and missed getting more insight into the their inner thoughts and feelings. I also expected them to learn something about themselves, or their relationship, as they went through this life changing event. There were several secondary characters, that although only superficially drawn, added some interest. I think my favorite of those was chef Michael, who I felt had a story brewing under his chef’s hat, one which I really wanted to know. As the blurb says, something gets a bit too real during their big murder mystery event, which could have been scary or perhaps a kind of over the top satire of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, but it wasn’t any of those things.

What I did like: I did like the idea of a how a windfall can change a character’s life dramatically. Both Dale and Terry were unhappy in their day jobs and eagerly  took advantage of the opportunity to open their own business. I also liked the peak inside the workings of a bed and breakfast. I thought the Murder Mystery Weekend plot and what developed during it was an inspired idea.

What I didn’t like: Again – the excessive descriptive prose, or as we say “telling not showing”. All of this description slowed the pace of the story and I would long for more action. I also kept hoping for more detail about the characters’ thoughts and feelings, but got all the way to the end of the book and still didn’t know much more about them than I had learned in the first 20 pages. They experienced a  major change in their lives, but because I didn’t learn much about them, I didn’t really care what happened to them.

Overall, Wolf’s Head Inn is a pleasant enough book, that could have been much more had we gotten inside the characters’ heads and experienced their emotions.

4 comments

  • Great review, TJ. Thanks for the info. It’s too bad about the slowed pace! This kind of thing should be fast-paced with maximum suspense drawn from the characters’ fears and reactions. It does sound like a plot that Agatha Christie has done already. Perhaps several times.

    Reply
    • Thank you Val. It was an interesting idea for a plot. As I said we have probably all had those fantasies of chucking it all and doing something fun.

      Reply

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