The Gargoyle’s Secret is a solid cozy mystery with a unique paranormal angle to it.
When her famed photojournalist father had to go into the hospital, Laurel Bachmann, a rising star who apprenticed at her father’s feet, steps in to fulfill his latest assignment to interview the renowned stonemason, Marc Chevalier, and photograph his historic estate, Stonehaven, a mystery-shrouded manor house perched on a rocky outcrop near Bar Harbour on the coast of Maine. She is informed immediately upon arrival that the piece she’s to do was encouraged by Marc’s mother, Serena, and he wants no part of it. But with her father’s imminent retirement on the line and his editor clamoring for a juicy human interest angle to the story, Laurel decides to tough it out with the secretive Mr. Chevalier, hoping to develop something suitable without indulging in rumors, gossip, or scandal, a practice she’s avoided her entire career. However, the manor and Marc’s family both have a mysterious past. Over 100 years ago, a visiting millionaire art collector had disappeared from Stonehaven, never to be seen again, and when Laurel stumbles across evidence that the man never left the island alive, her story and stay at the estate take a dark turn.
The Gargoyle’s Secret is the entertaining first book in a new paranormal, cozy mystery series, the Stonehaven Mysteries, by author Linn Chapel. The protagonist, Laurel Bachmann, is genuinely likable, smart, and a talented artist. She felt like a real person. Her foil, Marc Chevalier, is too handsome for Laurel’s own good. In addition, he’s mysterious and paranormally-talented besides being a successful stonemason with a burgeoning business restoring old and valuable pieces of sculpture and statuary. The mystery is pretty straightforward, a person unknown is digging around and searching for something at the manor, and with few people on the remote estate, suspects are limited. The reader can easily keep the players straight and try to figure out who the culprit is.
There is some confusion toward the end of Laurel’s stay as to continuity: in one chapter, we go from morning to afternoon, but then it’s morning still, and there’s seems to be one too many nights occurring in the timeline. I was also confused over what happened to the missing millionaire. I won’t say more because it would reveal too much for a potential reader. But overlooking these details, it was still a good, entertaining reading experience.
I recommend THE GARGOYLE’S SECRET to readers that enjoy a cozy mystery with a paranormal overlay. It is suitable for readers of all ages.
I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from BookSirens.