by Margot Wadley
The Gripping Beast
St. Martin's Press, April, 2001.
Hardcover, 200 pages.
Isabel Garth, an American schoolteacher who has recently been dumped by her fiancÚ, travels to Scotland's Orkney islands in order to visit her deceased father's boyhood home. On the ferry ride to the island, Isabel meets some locals who all seem friendly enough. Excerpt for Thora, a self-proclaimed witch who tells Isabel to go home because she has danger all around her. When dangerous accidents start happening to Isabel, she begins to wonder if Thora is behind her close calls. And when she finds a dead body, she knows for sure that a murderer is loose on the lovely island, and that she is most likely the next target.
The Gripping Beast was the winner of the 2000 St. Martin's Press/Malice Domestic Best First Traditional Mystery contest. Margot Wadley has a good grip on what it takes to write an enjoyable cozy mystery. Despite an unnecessary subplot about an unwanted pregnancy, the story moves along nicely, with a beautiful and mysterious landscape, an ancient Viking treasure and colorful local inhabitants. The atmosphere of the beautiful Orkney Islands and Wadley's skilled hand at descriptions of places and people make this a venue that readers will definitely want to visit again in future books.
--Claire E. White
The Gripping Beast is available for purchase on Amazon.com
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This review was published in the August, 2001 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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