Monday, June 18, 2012

A COZY REVIEW OF "MURDER IN HALF MOON BAY"

By Scarlett Rains


Something’s fishy at the Ritz…and it doesn’t sit well on a cracker!  



 


Book Description (per Amaon)

Publication Date: April 10, 2012

When a shocking murder disrupts the West Coast Garden Club Society's second annual conference, gardening columnist Jillian Bradley joins with Chief Frank Viscuglia to help in the investigation. Could it be the mean spirited conference director? Perhaps it's the wealthy widow on the make for her next husband; or maybe the killer is the haughty business woman who shows no regard for her brow beaten husband.

Set in beautiful Half Moon Bay at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Jillian moves through the exclusive hotel property, local nurseries, colorful restaurants, and private mansions searching for the truth, pausing with her friends for cups of afternoon tea along the way. She uncovers a series of mysterious events that lead to solving several murders, both past and present. With the help of her garden club friends and her Yorkshire terrier 'Teddy', Jillian discovers not only a killer, but a far greater menace that could threaten us all.

Product Details
·         Paperback: 178 pages
·         Publisher: CreateSpace (April 10, 2012)
·         Language: English
·         ISBN-10: 1452882088
·         ISBN-13: 978-1452882086



My Review

Murder in Half Moon Bay, (Jillian Bradley Mysteries, No. 1) is an entertaining, fast-paced, read. Nancy Jill Thames’s clever protagonist, Jillian Bradley, doesn’t miss a beat.  She, and her garden club friends, arrives at the West Coast Garden Club Society’s Annual Conference in Half Moon Bay expecting to relax, spend the weekend gleaning gardening tips, whiling away pleasant hours surveying plant specimens, and sampling great food.  Jillian quickly realizes there is something fishy going on at the Ritz…and she’s not talking about fertilizer! The soil at the Ritz-Carton doesn’t need enrichment.  Bodies are popping up over there faster than bean sprouts on steroids!  Good thing Jillian is not only a gardening expert, but a VERY good listener, a keen observer of detail…and a list-maker.  Put all that together, stir in the ‘contributions’ of Teddy (Jillian’s little Yorkie –who may just be telepathic!) and you’ve got yourself a great potting mix for a budding detective. 
As Nancy Jill Thames’s delightful story unfolds, a botanist might prove more useful than the FBI or the local police department.  All sorts of cross-pollination seems to be going on, what with social butterflies flitting around, landing in who knows whose room, and things taking root where they never should have been planted!   I’m not one for spoilers, but there are weeds that need pulling at the Ritz-Carlton and Jillian’s just the gal for the job. She and her friends waste no time. They get to work, digging in the dirt, to solve the mystery.
I enjoyed Thames’s family-friendly mystery very much.  This charming book earned 4/5 hearts. I would have given it 5/5, but one of the plot points troubled me.  As brilliant as Jillian clearly is, I couldn’t see a police chief allowing her to question suspects, until later in the series —after she establishes her stellar reputation as a sleuth. That trifle aside, Murder in Half Moon Bay is the sort of book to enjoy on a rainy day, snuggled in a recliner with a nice cup of Jillian’s favorite, Lady Earl Grey, tea.  I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a clever mystery that’s not soaked in blood and gore.  I look forward to reading all of the Jillian Bradley Mysteries.

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