brushNatalie Barnes has left the rat race to become an innkeeper at the Gray Whale Inn on Cranberry Island, Maine. She’s trying to learn to knit, she’s engaged to be married, and she has her young niece, Gwen, living with her — you could say she’s settling in well. Unfortunately, she also has to deal with some problems: a mystifying foreclosure notice on the inn, bloodstained dolls left menacingly around her property, Gwen’s troubles as she gets ready for her first art show, and her demanding mother-in-law’s extended visit.

There are also some strange things going on around the island. A famous artist has taken up residence, but she seems to be frightened of her agent — and she’s never seen without him. The Winter Knitter’s group is coping with mental illness and community controversy over a gay school teacher.

It’s a lot of drama for one little island.

When one of their number turns up dead, it’s unclear whether it’s a case of suicide or of murder… but either way, Natalie can’t avoid getting involved.

This is a cozy mystery with recipes and cooking scenes, filled with likable characters whose problems and triumphs feel real and engaging. MacInerney’s love for Maine comes through. The book is not yet published, but it’s available for pre-order at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.