Canaan’s Gate by Kathryn R. Wall is the 10th book in the “Bay Tanner” mystery series. Publisher: Minotaur Books, April 2010

When bank employee Cecelia Dobbs approaches Simpson & Tanner, Inquiry Agents, owner Bay Tanner has no idea her association with the awkward young woman will lead to murder. Concerned that teller Dalton Chambers may be running a con game on the elderly and immensely wealthy Castlemains of Hilton Head Island, Cecelia is seeking proof she can take to the authorities. She’s also firmly convinced that the old couple’s caretaker, flamboyant redhead Kendra Blaine, is in on the scam. Bay and her associate Erik Whiteside are stunned when Rebecca Castlemain dies suddenly of an apparent heart attack less than twenty-four hours after they accept the case.

Bay has her own problems as well. Still mourning the loss of her father, she has been struggling to adjust to her recent marriage to her murdered husband’s brother, former sheriff’s deputy Red Tanner. Since joining the staff of the inquiry agency, Red has been chafing under the constraints of working for his wife, and Bay wonders if her sudden bouts of insomnia are tied to their constant bickering or to a deeper flaw in their relationship. In addition, there’s the burden of her recently discovered half sister, Julia, and her uncertain mental state.

Then Cecelia Dobbs disappears, and the Castlemains’ grandson, Washington lobbyist Nicholas Potter, tries to engagae the agency to investigate Kendra Blaine on his behalf. He, too, claims this woman, who seems to have an unnatural influence over his grandfather, could be dangerous. Torn between her unwilling attraction to the charismatic Nick and her growing fears for Cecelia, Bay discovers that divided loyalties can be agonizing—and sometimes fatal.

This was a great read. In the aftermath of her father’s passing, Bay is struggling with a new husband, new office, new partner and a new case that seems simple but soon develops into something much bigger and sinister. With Bay’s professional and personal life appearing at a cross-road, Bay sets out to right a wrong. The pace of this story was fast-evolving and I was riveted to the pages and I couldn’t put this book down. What a ride and I can’t wait to read the next one in this series. My rating: 5 stars

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