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Smile Beach Murder: 12/02/22
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.