Monday, May 13, 2019

Murder by the Sea (A By the Sea Mystery Book 3)

Author:  Kathleen Bridge
Genre:   Mystery

Trade Paperback;Digital Book
ISBN #:  978-1516105250
Lyrical Underground
$15.95; $5.99 Amazon
May 21, 2019


It's been quite a year for novelist Liz Holt.  She's overcome a lot and is finally feeling at peace with her new life at her family's hotel, the Indialantic by the Sea, on the beautiful barrier island of Melbourne Beach, Florida.  She's exactly where she needs to be to ring in the New Year at the Florida Writes Literary Masquerade Ball.

But when her ex-boyfriend surprises her at the ball, she can't disguise her anger, and the two engage in a very public argument.  Naturally, after her ex is found dead on the hotel grounds, shot through the heart, Liz tops the suspect list.  With the help of family and friends, she needs to clear her name before the real killer waltzes away Scot-free...


Liz Holt is a novelist who lives in Florida at an old hotel-turned-boarding-house with her father, a semi-retired attorney, and her aunt Amelia, an ex-actress who owns the place.  She's excited to be attending their annual literary ball, or at least she would be if she hadn't discovered that her ex-boyfriend, novelist Travis Ostermann, is there, and he's up to no good.

Liz and Travis broke up when they got into a fight one night that left her with a scar on her face.  He wrote a fictionalized account of the evening, and now he's back trying to blackmail Liz into going on a book tour to promote the book.  She, of course, wants nothing to do with it, and they have words, which are witnessed by one of the guests.  When Travis is discovered murdered, Liz becomes the prime suspect.  But she - and her family and friends - know she's innocent.  So who killed Travis?  While there are plenty of suspects, it won't be easy going, considering no one wants to give information and the press are surrounding them like hawks.  It will take Liz and her friends everything they have to ferret out the truth or she'll be writing her next novel in jail...

This is the third book in the series, and I always like to give authors at least three books before I make a final judgment.  Here it is:  I'm done with this series.  After three books we finally get to know what happened to Liz on that fateful evening that permanently scarred her, and it's not dramatic, just an accident after all.  Silly me; I was thinking that perhaps Travis pushed her through a sliding glass door or something, but alas, no.  Very simple and very ho-hum.

I also didn't understand why, when it was a literary ball, and everyone was coming as a literary character, i.e., Sherlock Holmes, Jane Eyre, etc.; why her father's girlfriend would come as...Carol Burnett.  While it may have been funny (and the episode regarding this was), it certainly wasn't literary.  I guess I myself was taking literature well, literally.  I also didn't understand why Kate would come as Katniss Everdeen.  A teenager who murders because of a futuristic society?  Not my cup of tea, I guess, and certainly not one to emulate.  As for Amelia, I still find her boring and her - and Liz's - constant referencing of Amelia's television roles is nauseating.

Also, there are just too many characters and the author keeps adding more and more.  Why everyone has to 'pair off' is beyond me, and all these characters just bog down the story.  Liz also doesn't act like a woman who's not yet thirty.  She spends her time with octogenarians and acts just like them.  I also didn't understand why she'd go searching for Travis on her own, at night, knowing the type of person he is.  She should have at least grabbed her friend Kate to go with her.  It's not very smart of her at all.

In the end, the book lost me with all of the characters and too many back stories.  One or two is fine, but first you have to invest yourself in the characters, and I can't see anyone liking Susannah, and Liz herself isn't that likable as a protagonist.  Unfortunately, while there may be more books in this series, I just don't care for it enough to continue reading.  Not a bad series, and many might find it delightful, it's just not for me.


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