The thing I like best about Merrow is how relaxed her narrative voice is: there's an ease and amiability to her writing that's almost soothing. I think she's got a terrific way with moving both plot and dialogue along -- everything is natural and unaffected -- and she's great at fitting her characters into the frameworks of her storylines. I haven't hit a book of hers yet where a character veers out of control and starts to dominate a story to the exclusion of the other characters in it. You can't overestimate the comfort that sort of writing gives you.
Having said that, I think the way she transitions her characters are something of a weakness, and Phil kind of hit that flaw in the foundation for me in this one. What made it particularly egregious was that Phil seemed to have the bigger backstory (and the most baggage) out of his and Tom's shared history, and giving him less page time detracted from Tom's arc. I never bought the transition from Phil the (frankly terrible) school bully to Phil the remorseful made-over lover, and not buying it meant that I never bought the relationship. Abrupt lurches towards physical intimacy aren't uncommon in m/m romances, but the historical details of Tom and Phil's relationship demanded just a little more exploration of Phil's inner voice.
The rest of it is tremendously good fun, particularly Tom, who's a wee ripper of a character. I loved his humour and how likeable he is -- oh and that's another thing Merrow does well: lovely, good-natured characters with buckets of depth and charm.
The mystery isn't anything special, but it's a minor point. There's no way you can't enjoy this book and I can't recommend it enough.