Kate Rhodes has been a favorite author of Auntie M’s, starting with her compelling Alice Quentin series. Now that’s she’s branched out to her Locked-Island Mysteries, set in the Scilly Isles, Auntie M caught up with the series that features local detective DI Ben Kitto, with the 5th and 6th in this compelling series.

Devil’s Table centers on the island of St. Martin’s, where young Jade and her twin brother, Ethan, are attacked after leaving their shared bedroom at night. Ethan escapes but Jade is nowhere to be seen, and an island-wide search starts with residents and police battling the incessant fog that permeates the island.

Then a body is found in a dramatic, posed fashion, and Ben and his small team scramble to redouble their efforts to find the missing girl, while at the same time searching for a killer amidst the seemingly innocent narcissi harvest. The juxtaposition between the fields of fragrant bulbs, to be picked and flown to the mainland for Christmas and New Years clashes with the tiny community burdened by suspicion. 

Having grown up on nearby Bryher, Ben knows most of the people on St. Martin’s, who suddenly become suspects in this baffling murder of a man who is seen differently by people. Grudges held from long ago surface, and he must question everyone, regardless of his history with them.

A tense and gripping plot combine with an atmospheric mystery that make this an instant classic.

The Brutal Tide has Ben looking for clues to a set of old bones found during the excavation for a new outdoor activities center on Bryher, spearheaded by two locals who married and have returned home to complete this project.

Not everyone is a fan of the new center, and as Ben tries to find the identity of these bones, they suddenly disappear, and one of the  loudest critics of the project is found dead.

At the same time, a young woman whose father has been a crime kingpin sets up a plot to take out the officers whose information sent her father to prison. Now dying, Craig Travis has constructed this plan for his daughter Ruby with a devious way to take his revenge on those he hates, all from his prison hospital bed.

Ben Kitto, whose undercover past has returned to haunt him with a vengeance, must search for a killer on his home island while he avoids being Ruby’s last victim—all while his partner reaches the end of her difficult pregnancy.

A taut, clever mystery, with a very real protagonist at the heart of this series, makes this a tense and beautifully written mystery. 

Rhodes abilities as a poet surface in her lyrical prose and beautifully constructed descriptions and prose; her talents at creating tension have Elly Griffiths calling her “An absolute master of pace.”

Do yourself a favor if you haven’t already discovered the wildly talented Kate Rhodes, and immerse yourself in her wonderful sense of place and character, wrapped in stunningly good crime stories.