Saturday, April 27, 2013

Footprints in the Sand by Mary Jane Clark: A Piper Donovan Mystery

This is the first book I've read in the Piper Donovan mystery series, also known as the Wedding Cake mysteries.  Young Piper Donovan, recovering from a broken romance, travels to her cousin's wedding in Florida, near the Sarasota Amish community known as Pinecraft.  While Piper and her cousin want to focus on the sugary images of a delectable sand dollar wedding cake, or perhaps just indulge themselves in a slice of the local specialties -Amish peanut butter pie or Key Lime pie, they soon find  that a gloomy cloud is settling over the wedding.  Shelley, a bridesmaid disappears, then her body is found buried on the beach near a turtle's nest.  

Neighbors and guests can't imagine who would want Shelley dead, but readers soon are sifting through a list of possible suspects.  Is the inn owner with the big dreams of buying the nearby condos and creating a beach paradise trustworthy?  Shelley was his assistant; did she learn something she shouldn't?  Then there is handsome Brad who runs the kayak shop.  As soon as Piper meets him, she feels both attraction and aversion.  When she figures out his tattoos are the type designed in prison, she decides he is dangerous, but would he really kill?   And what about Isaac who left the Amish in his youth.  It seems that he, too, has secrets to hide. The author does a skilled job in alternating among wedding preparations, a young Amish boy's fearful reluctance to share what he knows about the crime, and the unidentified criminal's view of his (her??) world crumbling.

This mystery should attract a young audience with its beach and wedding themes.  Piper, besides being a talented baker, is a struggling actress whose ever present smart phone, her persistance in snapping photos, then sharing them with her FACEBOOK fans will heat up the action.

I checked this book out from WPLC for my nook, and I really enjoyed this fast read.  It was just the type of entertainment I needed at the end of the week.  A neat coincidence is that I've just learned about the Amish community in Sarasota this winter and have started following a blog written by an Amish woman/cookbook author.

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