Signet, August 2004, 5.99 256 pp.
After three marriages, two ending in death and one in divorce, Scotia Mackinnon is content having a relationship with renown maritime attorney Nicholas Arastazi. Right now, she is furious with her lover because after being with him for over a decade, she is not invited to his daughter's wedding. She decides to accept the invitation from the new owner of the hotel resort Dei Fiori on Santa Maria Island in the Pacific Northwest and forget about Nick for the time being.
From the time she steps foot on the island, she finds the atmosphere dark and foreboding. The local residents (double digits) are doing their best to get the resort closed down. A guest slips on wet steps requiring transport to the nearest trauma unit. A second guest, a California reporter, is found dead and the coroner rules it an accident. The owner finds out that her younger husband is making whoopee with one of the guests and Scotia puts certain clues together and realizes a murder is about to occur if she's not fast enough to stop it.
After three marriages, and twenty years in law enforcement, nothing surprises the protagonist. She is tough, independent and sticks up for what she believes in and is always willing to give a friend a helping hand. Sharon Duncan is a talented writer who describes the vacation from hell to perfection. Anything that can go wrong does and it is Scotia who finds herself picking up the pieces as everyone else has emotional breakdowns. THE LAVENDER BUTTERFLY MURDERS is an excellent crime thriller.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner