In THE BLUE MOON, GuidepostsBooks seamlessly continues its multi-author cozy mystery series featuring a female ornithologist living just off the coast of Washington State.
Lorena McCourtney pens this latest installment about Abigail "Abby" Stanton, a Cornell ornithologist and 50-something Christian career woman. In book one, Abby moved to the fictional Sparrow Island in the real-life San Juan Islands to care for her handicapped sister Mary. If you haven’t the first two books of this series, stop now and do so. Although you could read THE BLUE MOON as a stand-alone, you’ll enjoy it more if you read it in the order presented in the series.
The premise will require you to suspend disbelief (think of those old Nancy Drew mysteries). Abby discovers a three million dollar diamond necklace stuck in the back of her old desk at The Nature Museum where she works, and it’s the beginning of trouble for the residents of Sparrow Island. The necklace, which appears to include the famous “Blue Moon” diamond, comes with a curse. Many of the islanders are afraid that its presence in their community will lead to disaster. And where did the diamond necklace come from?
Once it’s known that Abby is seeking the owner of the necklace, “owners” come out of the woodwork. Suddenly, it seems that everyone has lost a diamond necklace --- or so they say. Soon, the fantastic piece of jewelry is a proverbial millstone around Abby’s neck. Will she ever discover the true owner?
McCourtney uses the superstitions of the small island community to allow Abby to dispel myths about “curses” and point readers to God. As in all of the books in the series thus far, many Christian readers will appreciate the lack of profanity, gratuitous violence and sex that make this story a restful read. Abby is quick to credit the Lord for the good things that happen, and, as in the other books, her life revolves around her faith and her appreciation for the natural world.
There are some nice romance elements in the plot, including the middle-aged police officer Sergeant Henry Cobb, Mary’s love interest, who helps Abby decide what to do with the necklace. Abby also wrestles with conflicting feelings about her boss Hugo, who is experiencing health problems that could be serious and rumored to be dating an island woman. The suspense never moves from simmer to boil, even when bad guys come out of the woodwork and attempt to steal the diamonds.
Although an enjoyable read, it is a little weaker, plot-wise, than the first two books. Still, there are plenty of rewards for the reader: one of the sweetest relationships in the series is between the middle-aged Abby and the elementary-aged Bobby. They often go on excursions together, and Abby encourages Bobby’s interest in the natural world. It’s nice to see friendships like this that span generations, and grandmothers will especially be appreciative.
THE BLUE MOON is part of the Mysteries of Sparrow Island series previously published by Guideposts exclusively for its book club. Only recently have these been available to a general readership. Fans will be happy to know that GuidepostsBooks plans to release 14 books in the series over the next few years. If you enjoyed WHISPERS IN THE TREES and FLIGHT OF THE RAVEN, then you’ll want to keep up with the resilient and faithful Abby in this latest installment.
Reviewed by Cindy Crosby on October 1, 2007
The Blue Moon: Mysteries of Sparrow Island #3