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Along the Saltwise Sea by A. Deborah Baker
The Biograph Girl by William J. Mann Break the Chains by Megan E. O'Keefe
Cheddar Off Dead by Korina Moss and Erin Moon (Narrator)
The Children on the Hill by Jennifer McMahon
Cryptid Club by Sarah Andersen
Curtain Call by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm (Illustrator)
Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney and Stephanie Racine (Narrator)
Due or Die by Jenn McKinlay and Allyson Ryan (Narrator) Empty Smiles by Katherine Arden
Guidebook to Murder by Lynn Cahoon and Susan Boyce (Narrator)
The House with a Clock in Its Walls by John Bellairs
A Killing in Costumes by Zac Bissonnette and Melanie Carey and Paul Bellatoni (Narrators)
The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin
Leviathan by Jason Shiga
The Liminal Zone by Junji Ito
Love (and Other Uses for Duct Tape) by Carrie Jones
Manor of Dying by Kathleen Bridge and Vanessa Daniels (Narrator)
Murder by the Book by Lauren Elliott and Karen White (Narrator)
The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie and Hugh Fraser (Narrator)
On This Airplane by Lourdes Heuer and Sara Palacios (Illustrations)
The Orphan and the Mouse by Martha Freeman and David McPhail (Illustrations)
Primordial by Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino (Artist) and Dave Stewart (Artist)
Smile Beach Murder by Alicia Bessette and Karissa Vacker
Sophie Go's Lonely Hearts Club by Roselle Lim and Annie Q (Narrator)
The Templeton Twins Have an Idea by Ellis Weiner and Jeremy Holmes (Illustrator)
Tumble by Celia C. PĂ©rez
Unseen Magic by Emily Lloyd-Jones
What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher

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5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish



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Smile Beach Murder: 12/02/22

Smile Beach Murder

Smile Beach Murder by Alicia Bessette and Karissa Vacker (2022) is the start of the Outer Banks Bookshop mystery series. Set on fictional Cattail Island in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, this mystery involves some suspicious deaths at a historic lighthouse. Callie Padget's mother, Teri, was the first to die, twenty-six years to the day before the new deaths started.

Like so many recent mysteries, this one begins with a woman forced to return home after her career has ended due to downsizing or some other economic downturn. Now she is forced to work part time for her aunt at her bookstore. She's grudgingly surprised at how well she does in her new job and how much she enjoys it.

With the deaths (and thus the mystery) being located at a historic lighthouse, and with a further mystery involving a long forgotten treasure hunt, this initial offering has a similar vibe as the Lighthouse Library mystery series by Eva Gates. There is also a discussion of ghosts and curses too, something the Outer Banks seems to engender.

One other thing I'm having to get used to as I read new mysteries that use updated tropes and narrative twists, I'm reminded at how I'm getting older and the authors are getting younger. I don't mind but I am amused at how more and more I'm relating to the mentor characters in these series. For example, in this story, the death twenty-six years ago, puts the cold case, the flashbacks, if you were, in 1996, one year into my married life!

The second mystery is Murder on Mustang Beach which releases May 16, 2023.

Five stars

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