From the blurb:
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.
Well, the book bugged the hell out of me in parts but I ended up really liking it. I'd say that if you like Lanyon, you'll like this book and if you haven't read any Lanyon, it's a good place to start. (And why the hell haven't you read any Lanyon?) The feel of the book, the tone, the atmosphere, the humor, the characters, it's the essence of all that is Lanyon.
The thing I love most about Lanyon's books is Murder in Pastel's biggest weakness. Some mystery novels make me nuts because they seem to exist in a world without novels or movies. Every clue is overlooked because they've never seen a Hitchcock movie or read Agatha Christie. Dumbasses. However, in Lanyon's world the characters have read every mystery novel in existence. They've even read Lanyon's books (Fatal Shadows gets a mention here). That works well in Lanyon's other books, where the characters seem a little more naturally suspicious, but in this book Kyle was either stupid or naive. He didn't notice SHIT. He just thought, hey, that's odd, oh well, might as well go for another dip in the ocean.
How can a guy who's read so many mystery novels and is, by the way, A MYSTERY WRITER HIMSELF, not see that something very fishy is going on? I don't buy it. I read a lot of mystery novels and I'm completely paranoid. Every time my neighbor does something super nice for me it just further convinces me the guy is a serial killer. It's always the nice ones! Anyway, poor Kyle does get a clue about half way through the book and thank jaysus for that.
My other complaint is Kyle's love interest Adam. (By the way, there's no cheating going on.) Brett is total shit disturbing, diva asshole. It's amusing in a book (for a few chapters) but in real life I'd only be able to take behavior like his for about 2 minutes. And Adam has lived with it for TWO FREAKIN' YEARS. I can only guess that part of him does enjoy the role of care taker. If I were Kyle I'd feel weird about that. Kyle doesn't need a nurse/daddy. By the end I wasn't totally appeased, but I did have a better understanding of what Adam saw in Brett and I felt like Adam was ready to love Kyle. And vice versa.
So is it the best mystery? Non. Is it the best romance? Nein. But is it Lanyon and is that good? Si.
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Thanks for reading my review!