Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Jeanne Reviews: Murder Hooks a Mermaid by Christy Fifield

Glory is the proud co-owner of a souvenir shop in Keyhole Bay, Florida, and the not quite as proud owner of a grumpy and sometimes profane parrot named Bluebeard.  Both are courtesy of her late Uncle Louis whose will left bird and shop to Glory and her cousin Peter. However, there is some evidence that perhaps Uncle Louis isn’t entirely gone from the store.  Some of the things Bluebeard says can’t possibly be things that he’s heard previously, and the voice he uses for those pronouncements sounds very much like Glory’s late Uncle Louis.  Is it possible for a parrot to be possessed?

Figuring that out is going to take a backseat to a more immediate mystery. Glory’s best friend Karen is still close with her ex-husband, Riley, and his family.  Riley’s brother Bobby is now in big trouble for borrowing Riley’s boat to take some divers out on an excursion, except that these divers turn out to be smugglers.  Not only is Bobby arrested on suspicion of taking part, but Riley’s boat is impounded.  Glory and Karen are both convinced that Bobby is innocent—he’s an idiot but he’s a careful idiot who wouldn’t take on the risks of smuggling--or murder.

This is the second in the Haunted Souvenir Shop Mystery series.  The characters are engaging, and the unusual premise of a haunted parrot is entertaining. There are a number of likeable characters and the obligatory couple of ones the reader loves to hate.  The setting is well done, with some local color.  The mystery itself was okay; clues were not followed up at times (why have a psychic parrot if you aren’t going to listen to what he says?) and there were some clich├ęs in evidence.  Much time was devoted to dinner and dinner recipes and discussion about the “Southerness” of some of the dishes. Romance is definitely in the air as well.

I was enjoying the characters and the setting so I had planned to go back and read the first in the series, but the author kept revealing parts of the previous plot (including the murderer, the victim, the aftermath, how Glory was nearly killed, etc.) to the point I no longer felt it necessary. I do plan to read the rest in the series, though.

There are five books in the series:

Murder Buys a T-Shirt (2012)

Murder Hooks a Mermaid (2012)

Murder Sends a Postcard (2014)

Murder Ties the Knot (2015)

Murder Buys a Lemon (2022)

(Note: there was a seven year hiatus between books four and five.) 

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