Finn Bartusiak’s life in the seaside town of Port New is not terribly exciting. However, when her old high school crush, who also happens to be a bestselling author, returns home, things start to perk up a little. When Finn impulsively purchases a 19th century writing box for her consignment shop, despite the seller’s dubious actions, things really get interesting. A secret message tucked inside the box, and the discovery of a dead body, has Finn and Spencer trying their hands at amateur sleuthing. However, Finn’s involvement could place her in serious danger, and that is a lot more excitement than she bargained for… 

Going on the supposition that this book is intended to be a novella-length story, one can reasonably allow for some underdeveloped characterizations, or forgive a few weaknesses in the plot — but not both in one book. Unfortunately, the plot is very rushed and entirely too stingy with the details. Naturally, the story has dialogue, but at times, Finn’s first -person narrative feels more like a running monologue. Finn’s voice is very amusing at times, though, and Garfunkel the special-needs Basset Hound is a nice addition to the story. The romantic chemistry is surprisingly good, as well. The banter between Finn and Spencer is witty on occasion, and Spencer comes through with a few touching romantic moments. Although short on depth, and long on fluff, this book does have some merit, and would be a fun and pleasant way to pass the time in a waiting room or at the airport.  

Julie Whiteley