Sometimes all you have time for is a quick novella. And that was what I had this past afternoon… an hour of free time between kids and the YMCA trip. So I picked up a freebie and started reading. Spotless Murder is the third book in the Sophia O’Malley Cozy Mysteru series by Natalie Woodley and Angela Arganoff. I have not read the previous two books but the beginning of the story cleared up enough that I really felt like I was not missing out on a huge plot twist or something. (This was a one day freebie on Amazon)
This book is definitely a shorter read. Your prospective is not limited to a main character as the story scoots along showing all of them equally. You do learn a bit about the three main ones – Sophia who runs a business called the Travelling Organizer where she does just that, her new employee Mattie (though you don’t learn too much about her) and a character new to the series – Paul who works for the chain that employed the ladies and sent them to Hawaii for their newest murder mystery.
The end of the book includes some Hawaiian recipes and some travel and organization tips. The murder itself is interesting, the solution rather intriguing and the pace a nice quick trot on through. I don’t try to solve these myself so cannot speak to that, but I really enjoyed following along as the characters work with law officials to solve the case.
Add to the mystery, the organization, the exotic setting just a touch of romance, a little nostalgia and a sweet goodbye to a love now gone and you have a novella to pick up and enjoy in a single sitting. I would totally rec commend this contemporary cozy for a quiet hour. And once my book budget goes up from, well, zero… I may just read and review the previous books!
Right off the bat I have to say – I thoroughly enjoyed A Ghost for Christmas by J.D. Winters. This is the first book in the Destiny Bay Cozy Mysteries. It was a one afternoon read for me, but I honestly had a hard time putting it down. As seems to be a trend with a lot of these cozy mysteries, this one also includes a recipe – a Hawaiian one, for Chicken Hekka… and for once I may just be tempted to try it! (without the mushrooms as I seem to be semi allergic)
But, enough of that… back to the story itself. The main character – Mele Keahi is half Hawaiian, half Caucasian. Her father has passed away and her mother disappeared when she was quite young. This left her with her grandmother (who was Hawaiian) and her Aunt Bebe (the same). Having recently lost her job and had her relationship suddenly end, Mele has traveled to Destiny Bay to sort herself out and enjoy a vacation with her aunt. Cue body in the front yard and the mystery begins.
Mele has more issues than just a murder to cope with. As we learn in the early portion of the book she has also (at least as a teenager) been haunted, or at least seen the ghost of a man who she calls Dante. Why, she doesn’t know, but he is back.
Add into the mix a bit of Hawaiian flavour, a detective who seems to be both suspicious of Mele and flirtatious, neighbours and workers who have dubious motives and even more dubious alibis and that ever present hint of the paranormal and A Ghost for Christmas is a wonderful contemporary cozy read.
The Destiny Bay Cozy Mysteries series has great potential. I especially love that the main character, while “damaged” is still confident, she is who she is and is shaped by her past, but the future is an open book! One which I look forward to reading further!