Ten years ago Cosmo Bari vanished, taking with him his legendary masterpiece, Virgin in Pastel. Since that day no one in the seaside art colony of Steeple Hill has heard from the eccentric painter.
Surrounded by an extended family of Cosmo’s colorful compatriots, mystery writer Kyle Bari believes he has come to terms with being abandoned by his famous father. Then his ex-lover Adam MacKinnon arrives with his new partner, the beautiful but poisonous, Brett.
Brett has an unerring instinct for other people’s weak spots and soon the quiet colony is seething with hostility and suspicion as Brett begin to hint he knows what happened to the missing artist.
This was...nice. It has the humour one is used to from Lanyon's other works. It also has a good mystery. At least once it starts properly, which takes a while. It takes till roughly the 40% mark till the first body appears. Now this is a personal preference of mine but I don't want to wait that long (especially in a cozy). Especially if a person has a sign with 'future victim' in neon letters over their head. If you've only read a few crime-novels you know who is going to kick the bucket and you are going to be waiting for it desperately because he is an utter arsehole.
Now that is a common trope in cozies and the reason why I prefer it when these characters get killed off early. It's just unbearable to read about them for long. Here there's the additional issue that I just can't comprehend why the other characters keep spending time with him. He is supposedly very good looking but not everybody can be so braindead from drooling over him that they always forgive him his dickish behaviour.
Still, the mystery was really good. I'd even say one of Lanyon's best ones and it would have made me forgive the other bits if I'd enjoyed the relationship between Kyle and Adam. Sadly it was mostly lacking chemistry. Like in Jefferson Blythe I had the impressions these characters have more feelings for their memories of the other person than the actual person standing in front of them and that just did not work.