Hotel Paradise by Martha Grimes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It is quite a feat to write honestly from a child's point of view, even one who is observant and perceptive. Emma, who is twelve years old, lives with her mother and other staff who run the Paradise Hotel ("an old summer hotel") that has seen better days. She becomes fascinated with the death of another twelve year old girl who died mysteriously many years earlier and begins investigating in her own unique style. Someone pointed out that this was as much a coming of age novel as a mystery story.
As always, Martha Grimes writes, in quotable style, of singular characters and places we all want to visit. It turns out that she based this story, in part, on her own childhood experiences spending summers at her mother's hotel in Mountain Lake Park, Maryland. The hotel was torn down in 1967.
There are actually three books in the Emma Graham mystery series and luckily I started with the first. Others are Cold Flat Junction (2000) and Belle Ruin (2005).
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