In Death of the Keynote Speaker, Sharon L. Dean, provides another Susan Warner crime story. The actual history of Star, Appledore, and Smuttynose islands, part of the Isles of Shoals, just off the coast of New Hampshire, is mixed with a murder case. A conference on the 19th-century writer Abigail Brewster, who wrote letters to her contemporary fellow authors, attracts literature scholars in the 21st century. The Isles of Shoals both in 1873 and now face a mysterious murder. Peter Brewster, keynote speaker on the conference, and indeed a family member of Abigail is murdered with an ax even before he could explain the results of his investigation of his ancestors.
Trapped on the island in a roaring storm, the conference attendees are left to their own devices. Susan Warner takes the initiative to interview possible suspects, find the murder weapon and reveal both the motive as well as the murderer.
The book reminds the reader of classic crime stories like Agatha Christie (Poirot) or the contemporary tv series Death in Paradise. Simple means, a low pace storyline, not that much character development or unexpected twists. An old hotel, chapel for church goers, and a garden, quotes from the fictional writer Abigail Brewster and lots of literary references are the spices to help you staying to the end.
About the author
Sharon L. Dean grew up in Massachusetts where she breathed in the history haunts her novels. She earned undergraduate and graduate degrees at the University of New Hampshire, a state she lived in until moving to Oregon. In New Hampshire, she taught writing and literature at Rivier University. After giving up writing scholarly books that required footnotes, she reinvented herself as a writer of mysteries. Her first novel, Tour de Trace, was set on Mississippi’s Natchez Trace, which she once toured on her bicycle. As a teenager, she was a Shoaler on Star Island, the setting for Death of the Keynote Speaker. Cemetery Wine Dean’s reluctant sleuth, Susan Warner, once again confronts a murder, this time uncomfortably close to the New Hampshire farmhouse she calls home.