Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Murder Hooks A Mermaid - Christy Fifield

Murder Hooks A Mermaid
A Haunted Souvenir Shop Mystery
Christy Fifield
Berkley Prime Crime
The tiny town of Keyhole Bay, Florida is gearing up for the spring influx of tourists.  Pretty much anyplace near a beach can expect some tourist income during the spring and summer months.  Souvenir shop owner Glory Martine is sidetracked by a familiar problem.  Her best friend since forever, Karen, used to be married to Riley, a commercial fisherman with a lifelong penchant for bailing his younger brother, Bobby out of trouble.  Bobby seems to unerringly find trouble, and what was endearing in their teen years has become significantly less so now that they’re all adults.  Nevertheless, when Bobby is in trouble, Riley is there for him, and that means Karen is, too.
This time, the trouble looks pretty serious.  Bobby convinced Riley to let him use his commercial fishing boat to take out a dive charter.  Never mind how sketchy that sounds right off the bat, at least Bobby was trying to earn some money.  As soon as the group returns, they’re all arrested for suspected smuggling.  That means Riley’s boat – his only means of making a living – is impounded.  Not long afterwards, one of the divers is found murdered.  The scant evidence points to Bobby.  No one believes he’s capable of murder.  Although Glory tries to stay out of it, the fact that her best friend is running herself ragged trying to prove Bobby’s innocence means she’s part of the investigation.
This is the second entry in this entertaining series.  One of the most interesting aspects of this series is Bluebeard, the parrot that Glory inherited from her uncle, along with the souvenir shop.  It’s pretty clear that he sometimes channels Uncle Louis.  I have to admit that at first I was skeptical of this.  But Bluebeard/Louis has/have grown on me a lot.  It might be because in this one, Glory has to explain Bluebeard to a couple of people.  She knows exactly how crazy it sounds, and her reluctance to share is completely believable.  The reactions are believable and, in one case, really touching. 
If you like your mysteries without paranormal aspects, there’s still plenty to like here.  There are characters we met in the first volume (MURDER BUYS A T-SHIRT) who become much more detailed and complex in their relationships as the series progresses.  Glory and her friends continue to hold weekly suppers, and many of the recipes for traditional southern cooking are included at the end.  The cast of characters really gels and gives the feeling of a small town group of people who have known each other forever.  There are ups and down to that, but it always feels real. 
Rating: 7
January 2013
ISBN# 978-0-425-25184-3 (paperback)


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