Right about now is the time where I start getting really tired of the Oregon rain and cold weather. I start to randomly look for tropical vacations that are anywhere with sun and warmth. Sadly, my budget doesn’t allow for tropical travel every year so I have to make do with what I have on hand which is usually a book set in a sunny location. Sometimes tropical book setting can be hard to find, but when I do find one, I am usually game to check them out.
When I saw this book come up for review, I was like HECK YES, tropical cozy murder mystery sounds like just the ticket to cure the winter blues. So I decided to give this one a shot, plus I love the cover. It is super cute. I haven’t read anything by Carrie Doyle before and actually I hadn’t even heard of any of her books but once this one came into my orbit, I was curious to see what other books she has put out. This one here is third in a series so obviously there are other books before it as well as another series that Doyle has written.
She seems to have a flair for cozy mysteries and this particular series is set in a tropical destination which to me is rare. Tropical destinations always feel transient. Like people weren’t meant to be there for any length of time. But I love that this book series make a home of the tropical island Paraiso. It gives readers roots to a location that often just feels like a short escape but readers of the series will feel like they are coming home to the island of Paraiso.
Sometimes you have to rock the boat to catch a killer!
On the tropical island of Paraiso, Plum Lockhart has a new zest for life. Her villa rental company is growing like a weed, she’s solved a couple of pesky murders, and things with her long-time crush are finally starting to heat up.
Plum does sometimes miss her sparkly life in the Big Apple, so she’s thrilled when she gets an invite to dinner on the yacht, where she can mingle with famous singers, up-and-coming stars, society swans, and billionaires. After a few hours on the boat, Plum wonders what secrets are lurking beneath the surface.
Two days later, one of the servers from the yacht―a girl with a dragonfruit tattoo―washes up dead, and Plum’s sweet bit of paradise quickly goes sour. As the ship prepares to set sail across the Caribbean, Plum hops onboard to investigate the case, undercover. But the best laid plans turn deadly as it becomes clear that everyone on the boat has a motive and Plum must sleuth out the killer before she becomes the next victim (summary from Goodreads)
The number one question I get asked when I tell people I am reading a new series (or new to me series)—-is, can the books be read out of order. While the question seems pretty straight forward, it often isn’t. It often depends on many elements but I will say generally, cozy mysteries can be read out of order. I have found many a cozy mystery that I have been able to skip around in the series and I would say that I think this is one of them. I hadn’t read the other books in the series but I felt fairly confident that I could pick up this book and not feel too lost within the greater story. For the most part I found that to be true with this one. Yes there were some established relationships and history that some new readers might notice however, I didn’t feel like it impacted the larger story.
The author did a good job explaining some of the back stories and I didn’t feel overly lost in the story and as often is the case, most cozy mysteries focus on the mystery itself rather than the other plots. I enjoyed getting to know the characters in the book and thought the mystery reminded me of a classic almost Agatha Christie style murder mystery with it being set on a yacht, it was more of a locked room mystery which is what Christie is known for. I really enjoy that type of mystery and this is exactly what this book reminded me of. If you are a fan of lock room mysteries then you will find a lot to love here. Plus the exotic setting gave the mystery a air of newness as so many cozy mysteries are set in places like England or small town America. I loved having something that made me feel like I was getting to take a mini vacation on a warm island or cruise!
While I loved the setting of this book, I don’t know that I loved all the characters. For me Plum was just ok. I don’t know if reading the other books would help that or not, but based on the fact that I haven’t read the other books, I can only go off of how I felt toward her as a character based on this one book. She was smart and I liked watching her solve a mystery, but at the same time I felt disconnected with her. That was the reason I gave this one three stars. It was a quick easy read and I loved the mystery part but I wish I had formed a stronger connection with Plum. That said I would definitely like to read the other books in the series and I am hopeful that I will find a connection with her in other books.
Book Info and Rating
336 pages, Mass Market Paperback
Published: January 31, 2023 by Poison Pen Press
ISBN 9781728232393 (ISBN10: 1728232392)
Free review copy provided by publisher, Poison Pen Press, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 3 stars
Genre: cozy mystery