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112 of 115 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun Straight Up
Natalie Barnes is fulfilling a lifelong dream. She recently moved from Texas to Cranberry Island off the coast of Maine after buying the Gray Whale Inn. Now she's trying to make a living running the bed and breakfast.

She's only been open a few months when trouble arrives on the island in the form of Bernard Katz. He's developed lots of resorts for the rich...
Published on June 26, 2006 by Mark Baker

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144 of 151 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Needs some work
I just finished "Murder on the Rocks" and while I think this series has potential, the writing needs to be edited better.

1. Natalie frequently complains about how she is flat broke and unable to eat at restaurants. She runs out of groceries and ends up with nothing to eat but a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. However, she is constantly baking up huge batches...
Published on May 17, 2007 by Janet Lee Wolfson


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112 of 115 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun Straight Up, June 26, 2006
By 
Mark Baker (Santa Clarita, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Murder on the Rocks (Gray Whale Inn Mysteries, No. 1) (Paperback)
Natalie Barnes is fulfilling a lifelong dream. She recently moved from Texas to Cranberry Island off the coast of Maine after buying the Gray Whale Inn. Now she's trying to make a living running the bed and breakfast.

She's only been open a few months when trouble arrives on the island in the form of Bernard Katz. He's developed lots of resorts for the rich and famous all over the world and has his sights set on the land next to the Gray Whale Inn for his next project.

Bernard is staying at the Gray Whale during his visit to the island. The morning after the city council votes to sell him the needed land, Natalie finds his lifeless body at the bottom of some cliffs. Unfortunately, she also finds herself as the chief suspect, not only in the minds of the police, but also in the minds of the villagers. Natalie is going to have to do some poking around on her own to find the real killer if she's going to stay out of jail.

This is a debut novel with lots of promise. Natalie is a strong, likeable heroine. She is surrounded by a great cast of characters. I especially liked her niece, Gwen, who I hope to see again in future installments. And the love interest, neighbor John Quinton is a great balance for Natalie.

The plot is strong as well and progresses at a steady pace over the course of the novel. While several things were obviously set up before hand, I didn't know who the killer was until the end.

There were a couple problems, however. First, two of the characters were named Charlene and Claudette. Maybe it's just me, but I had a hard time keeping them straight and had to think anytime one of them was mentioned. More importantly, I really didn't get a feel for the size of the island until I was at least at the half waypoint. Creating a better sense of place earlier in the book would have helped.

Since this book is set at a bed and breakfast, there are several mouth-watering scenes describing food. I was glad to see several recipes in the back of the book, and I hope to get a chance to try one or two soon.

On the whole, my complaints are minor. By the time the book ended, I felt like I knew the characters and the settings. I certainly enjoyed my time there. I plan a return visit to the Gray Whale Inn when the next book comes out.
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144 of 151 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Needs some work, May 17, 2007
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This review is from: Murder on the Rocks (Gray Whale Inn Mysteries, No. 1) (Paperback)
I just finished "Murder on the Rocks" and while I think this series has potential, the writing needs to be edited better.

1. Natalie frequently complains about how she is flat broke and unable to eat at restaurants. She runs out of groceries and ends up with nothing to eat but a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. However, she is constantly baking up huge batches of cookies and brownies to take to friends and neighbors around the island. Whenever she needs something out of the freezer, she is pawing through chuck roasts and bacon to find the fruit she needs. So is she broke and hungry or not?

2. When a guest at her inn is found dead, Natalie sneaks into his room (against direct police orders) and finds significant evidence that she then hides. When the police later suspect her of being the killer, Natalie is unable to show evidence pointing away from her, because she stole it from the crime scene. Is she really this stupid?

3. An intruder breaks in and clobbers Natalie. She doesn't bother to call the police immediately, instead just waits for them to show up the next day.

4. Natalie pretends to be someone she's not in order to obtain private information she has no right to, and opens and reads her guests' mail.

While the plot is presented as "Natalie is a suspect in a murder she didn't commit and tries to find the real killer" she is guilty of numerous counts of obstruction of justice and just plain stupidity. It was hard to swallow.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Tidy and Delicious Little Story, October 7, 2006
By 
Michelaneous by Michele (Sandy Point Resort, Northwoods Wisconsin) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Murder on the Rocks (Gray Whale Inn Mysteries, No. 1) (Paperback)
I am so happy I discovered this delightful book by Karen MacInerney, "Murder on the Rocks." The writing and storytelling are as quaint and charming as the Gray Whale Inn, a bed and breakfast on an island in Maine depicted in the tale. As an innkeeper, I particularly enjoyed commiserating with the narrator, Natalie Barnes, a recent transplant from Texas, as she performed her daily duties. The honest and telling reaction she had to her "off limits" kitchen being invaded one morning while she enjoyed the back porch view and her first cup of coffee before pulling together another delicious breakfast was something every innkeeper has experienced. It, therefore, made the character instantly credible and likeable. The reader can't help but root for her throughout the story as she tries to uncover the facts of who killed one of her guests, a resort developer named Bernard Katz.

Even stronger than the mystery MacInerney sets up in the story are the flavors she creates with delicious details of the breakfasts and baked goods Natalie prepares. My mouth watered throughout, and before I realized that she provides recipes at the end of the story, I wished I could taste some of these delicacies. I plan to bake Wicked Blueberry Coffee Cake this afternoon. Thank you Ms. MacInerney!

This is a very quick and enjoyable read. I recommend it.

Michele Cozzens, author of I'm Living Your Dream Life: The Story of a Northwoods Resort Owner.
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41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No mystery here, November 7, 2010
By 
DeeWNY (Western New York USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Murder on the Rocks (Gray Whale Inn Mysteries, No. 1) (Paperback)
This "mystery" is just plain awful. The heroine just happens to find letters with secret personal information left around. She is stupid enough to enter the victim's room (in her B&B) and handle and hide evidence b/c she distrusts the detective in charge. We know he's no good b/c the author repeatedly refers to his greasy hair, and we all know unattractive people must be incompetent. Plucky heroine is conked on the head, the brakes of her bike are cut (now THERE'S an original idea) She also is dumb enough to talk to a reporter the day after the murder and then is shocked when the papers misquote her.
I love a good mystery but I cannot abide stupid characters, cliches and plodding story. Two thirds of the way through - hitting next page as fast as I can on my Kindle- I find I don't care who killed him and I'm glad I only bought one of this series.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, but realistically, people..., February 12, 2007
By 
M. Carole (West Hills, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Murder on the Rocks (Gray Whale Inn Mysteries, No. 1) (Paperback)
I'll skip the plot summaries, since you can find those elsewhere. I agree with other reviewers that this new series has a strong sense of place, interesting characters, and yummy recipes. That said, there is still some room to grow for this author. The characterizations were a bit flat, leaving you wondering what is motivating these people, exactly. The "mystery" was not that intricate, and the plot is advanced by devices (SPOILER), i.e., Natalie trips into situations (literally!) and works at solving the case because she is just that much more curious and motivated than the local cops. It's all a bit artificial.

Note these nitpicks are not uncommon with cozies and I think this author has potential, I just wouldn't put this up there in the 5 stars category. Maybe 3 1/2.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining light read, August 19, 2006
By 
Amazon Customer "DJ" (Huntersville, NC USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Murder on the Rocks (Gray Whale Inn Mysteries, No. 1) (Paperback)
I read a lot of mysteries. I ordered this one on a whim, as it didn't look much different from all the 'cookies, quilts, plants' and other mysteries flooding the shelves with a 'theme.' I found it to be a good quick read, and I will definitely read more by the author. It had a little more depth than I expected.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very entertaining who-done-It, June 8, 2006
This review is from: Murder on the Rocks (Gray Whale Inn Mysteries, No. 1) (Paperback)
After coming to Cranberry Island off the Maine Coast to mend a broken heart, Natalie Barnes fell head over heals for a former sea captain's house. She sold her home in Austin Texas and had enough money for the edifice which would become the Gray Whole Inn bed and breakfast. She loves her new life; however into each Eden there is a serpent and this one is Bernard Katz.

The entrepreneur plans to build a resort for the rich and famous on land adjacent to Natalie's inn. While out walking Natalie trips and falls partway down a cliff. At the bottom is the body of Bernard Katz and it is determined by the medical examiner that the business mogul was murdered. The lead detective on the case believes that Natalie is the killer especially since she knew about plans to convert her inn into a parking lot. Intending to clear her name before she ends up in jail, Natalie launches her own investigation and almost gets killed by a murderer who wants Natalie to take the fall for the killing.

Readers will get a look at small town living (pop 2000) on an island that can only be reached by boat. The victim had enough enemies on the island leading to plenty of suspects with viable motives. The heroine is brave, stubborn and determined to get at the truth even if it means putting her life in danger. Readers will like Natalie as she sets out to find the killer. This is a very entertaining who-done-It

Harriet Klausner
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maine, Mystery and Cooking!, May 7, 2006
This review is from: Murder on the Rocks (Gray Whale Inn Mysteries, No. 1) (Paperback)
If you love your vacations in Maine, or you love to putz around the kitchen (or just like reading about people who do!)you'll love this novel.

More importantly if you're a fan of tightly written mysteries that keep you hooked page after a page you'll love this book even if you've never been to Maine or spent time in the kitchen. MacInerney's book is great fun for mystery lovers.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A winning recipe for murder, April 29, 2006
By 
NorCalReader (Northern CA, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Murder on the Rocks (Gray Whale Inn Mysteries, No. 1) (Paperback)
As new owner of The Gray Whale Inn on Cranberry Island, Maine, young entrepreneur Natalie Barnes offers comfy beds and breathtaking views of rose-dotted sea cliffs, while cheerfully whipping up her delectable home-cooked goodies. She's content to be serving up a peaceful slice of Americana, until a wealthy developer arrives with plans that threaten to destroy the habitat of the endangered black-chinned terns--and to replace the Inn with a parking lot. Finding the developer dead on the rocks outside was nowhere on Natalie's well-planned menu. Especially when the police consider her a prime suspect . . . and the real killer wants her dead too.

Murder on the Rocks, complete with recipes, is a delightful combination of New England charm, eccentric characters, tongue-in-cheek humor and heart-pounding action. The author paints the story in such detail that the reader smells the tang of salty air, feels the coastal summer sunshine and savors each succulent mouthful of butter-dunked lobster. MacInerney gives us a down-to-earth and plucky heroine who may be seen calmly pedaling her aging Schwinn uphill to deliver Killer Cranberry Scones in the morning . . . then hoisting a chef's knife to defend herself in a stormy blackout later that night. Surrounding Natalie is a fabulous cast of characters (and suspects) including B&B guests, quirky neighbors, a well-coiffed and outspoken best friend, and a way-too-tempting local deputy.

Murder on the Rocks hooked me on the first page and kept me reading right on through, and now has me shopping for the ingredients to try out the killer recipes. It's a book that leaves you eager for second helpings--the next book in the Gray Whale Inn Mystery Series.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cranberries and Whales, April 12, 2007
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This review is from: Murder on the Rocks (Gray Whale Inn Mysteries, No. 1) (Paperback)
A delightful quick read. Anyone who has ever been to Maine - or perhaps even stayed in a bed and breakfast will enjoy the story line of this joyful mystery novel. Natalie, the central character and owner of The Gray Whale Inn shows a lot of moxie when threatened by an unprofessional officer of the law. In MacInerney's subsequent book, Dead and Berried, Natalie displays courage again by not abiding her close friend to be falsely accused of a crime by the same officer.

The plot line moves right along - the array of characters are both interesting and entertaining and quite frankly, the mystery works because the reader is never sure who among the characters could be the villan. The intriguing writing of MacInerney piques the reader's interest because of the ebb and flow of the goodness (and not so good) of the characters.

Read Murder on the Rocks and the second of the series and you will be watching for her next book.
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Murder on the Rocks (Gray Whale Inn Mysteries, No. 1)
Murder on the Rocks (Gray Whale Inn Mysteries, No. 1) by Karen MacInerney (Paperback - May 8, 2006)
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