Author: Joyce and Jim Lavene
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, 2010
Mass Market Paperback, 304 pages
Genre: Cozy/ Amateur Sleuth, #1 Missing Pieces mystery
Source: Paperback Swap
First Line: It was right after the Fourth of July parade that follows the crowning of the new Miss Duck when Mildred Mason tapped me on the shoulder and sighed.
Duck, North Carolina is a small town on the Outer Banks. Its mayor, Dae O'Donnell, is the person everyone in town wants to see when they've lost something. If they keep their minds focused on what they've lost, all Dae has to do is touch them, and she knows where the item is.
Dae wears many hats in Duck: mayor, ceremonial ribbon cutter, UPS contact, finder of lost stuff, and owner of Missing Pieces-- a shop in which she sells treasures she's found on her travels. (That is, she'll sell everyone the run-of-the-mill tourist souvenirs, but if you want one of her special treasures, you'd better hope she likes the cut of your jib.)
Little does Dae know, but helping Mildred Mason find her watch leads her right into a murder investigation. The police seem to think they have the case wrapped up, but Dae knows the folks living in her small town. She soon persuades neighbor (and retired FBI agent) Kevin Brickman to stop remodeling the Blue Whale Inn so he can help her find the real killer.
I'd figured out most of the puzzle pieces in this book, but the enjoyment wasn't to be found in the puzzle as much as it was in the "ride". The setting of the Outer Banks and the small town of Duck was extremely well done, but I loved some of the characters even more than I did the setting.
Dae was the best of the lot. Her ability (which I wish I had) wasn't overused, and I loved the way she operated her business. Her willingness to go out on a limb for the people she's known all her life is admirable, and it says a lot for her intelligence that, when she discovers her neighbor is a former FBI agent, she goes to him for help.
However, there were two characters I could have done without. I've said before that one character type in a cozy mystery that rubs my fur the wrong way is the Disapproving Mother. A Timely Vision had two more: the Stupid Wannabe Boyfriend and the Man Hungry Best Friend.
Tim proposes to Dae just about every month without fail. She turns him down without fail-- and she doesn't do it in a coy manner that would give him hope. The man is stupid because (1) he can't figure out that no means NO, and (2) he thinks his-- cough, choke-- irresistibility will finally wear her down.
Dae's friend, Shayla, must be the type who'd almost kill to have "Mrs." in front of her name. (In fact for a few pages I harbored hope that she was the killer.) Shayla will throw herself at any eligible male-- especially if he shows any interest in Dae. Both Tim and Shayla could disappear in the next book in the series and I wouldn't miss them at all.
I do intend to continue reading this series. Even though my fur got all tangled with two of the characters, there's too much potential here for me to miss seeing what happens next in good old Duck.