Publisher: Blue Feather Books
Elizabeth Taylor (yes, that’s the name) knows she’s not that good at being a private detective. As she says at the end of the book, she’d rather be known as the most stylish and best looking PI than the cleverest. This could explain why the story falls flat.
Taylor is hired to find the research papers of Stan McCormick, her roommate’s dead fiancé. The circumstances of McCormick’s death are suspicious, which makes the case more interesting for Taylor. Her investigation takes her to Grafton Island and the college where McCormick did his research. The island, which sits in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay, is caught in a war between the original settlers, mostly fishermen, and the new arrivals who are interested in developing the waterfront property. The characters there are as peculiar as the ones Taylor meets at the college. When Taylor falls for one of the island women, she decides she has to prove who the killer is so that it won’t interfere with her love life.
No Corpse Is an Island is a light weight mystery. The story is alright, but it never develops the suspense or tension that most readers expect for this type of book. The detective seems more interested in a possible girlfriend than she is in the case. Timberlake moves along telling the story, but there aren’t any great confrontations or frightening threats. Taylor does receive some messages, but even those don’t seem to carry much weight. Most of the book is spent presenting a rather long list of potential killers and why they might be the killers, but they’re very run of the mill. There is a little twist at the end when the killer is revealed, but the story just doesn’t have any kick to it.
The best part of this book is the description it gives of the bay islands and the lifestyle that exists on them. The Chesapeake Bay islands have been settled since the earliest days of the American colonies and have developed a very unique existence. Timberlake certainly captured that well. The reader can feel the ocean breezes and smell the salt, as well as appreciate the characters who live there. That alone makes the book enjoyable.
Someone looking for a book to spend some time with will find No Corpse Is an Island acceptable and it’s very informative about life around the bay. Mystery lovers will probably find a lot lacking however.