Saturday, November 17, 2018

Murder at Harbor Village by G.P. Gardner

Murder at Harbor Village 

by GP Gardner

About the Book

Cozy Mystery
New Series
Lyrical Underground (November 13, 2018)
Paperback: 216 pages
ISBN-10: 1516109007
ISBN-13: 978-1516109005
Digital ASIN: B079WM9X29
Young retiree Cleo Mack is trading in academia for a second act in Harbor Village, a community for active seniors in coastal Alabama. But someone in this picture-perfect coastal town is burning the candle at both ends . . .

It’s love at first sight when Cleo arrives in Fairhope, Alabama, after taking early retirement from her longtime position as professor of social work. Touted as “the nicest town in the world,” Fairhope is home to an eclectic community of retirees. Harbor Village boasts classes in painting, pottery, and photography, not to mention being a buyer’s market for husbands. It seems an ideal place to make new friends and rediscover life. Until a dead body is found in the pool. When the victim turns out to be the unpopular director of senior living, Cleo is named acting director. Now she must rely on her well-honed people skills to uncover a killer in a place where short-term memory isn’t what it used to be, and age is just a number. And if Cleo keeps snooping around, her number may soon be up . . .

About the Author

Born and raised in Alabama, G. P. Gardner earned BS and MA degrees in Psychology from the University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL) and an MBA from Jacksonville State University (Jacksonville, AL). She also attended the University of Georgia (Athens, GA), where she studied biopsychology and primatology. But her heart belongs to Talladega College—an HBCU and the first educational institution in Alabama to admit students without regard to race—where she taught business. Her writing life began with short stories, some of which were published in regional literary journals and some of which won prizes. She enjoys the classic mystery writers as well as contemporary whodunits but reads widely. She is a knitter and once owned a knit shop in Fairhope, AL. She studied mystery writing with Terry Cline, another Fairhope resident. Murder in Harbor Village is the first in her series about social worker Cleo Mack. You can visit her at

My Thoughts

Murder at Harbor Village by G.P. Gardner is the debut novel in A Down by the Bay Mystery series.  Cleo Mack has been offered a chance at early retirement from the university where she is department chair and teaches social work.  Cleo decides to visit Fairhope, Alabama while trying to decide about her future.  She falls in love with the picturesque town and a chance encounter with Nita Bergen helps the final pieces fall into place.  Nita introduces her to Harbor Village, a retirement community, where she lives with her husband, and her circle of friends who welcome Cleo.  Cleo is contacted by Jamie Barnes, Director of Assisted Living at Harbor Village, who offers her a part-time job handling resident services and Cleo works an apartment into the deal.  A month later, Cleo returns to move into her new apartment and begins a new chapter of her life.  The next morning, Lee Ferrell, the executive director, is found dead in the pool and Cleo finds herself in charge of Harbor Village.  Travis McKenzie, Cleo’s ex-husband of twenty-three years, runs Harbor Health Services, needs fresh eyes on Harbor Village, and he feels Cleo is the right woman for the job.  Something fishy is going on in this quiet community and Travis is relying on Cleo to ferret out the truth.  How does is relate to Lee’s death?  That is just what Cleo intends to find out.

Murder at Harbor Village is a light cozy mystery with friendly characters and a striking town.  Cleo is looking forward to this new phase of her life when a murder disrupts her plans.  She is suddenly thrust into an administrative roll (there goes the retirement) with a host of problems.  She is shocked when she learns the victim is Travis’ new wife (makes him a good suspect).  Cleo soon learns that murder is not the only mystery at Harbor Village.  We are taken through Cleo’s daily tasks as she learns her new role which she handles with grace considering she has no clue what she is doing (practical knowledge goes a long way).  We are introduced to numerous characters and learn the complexities of running a retirement village.  I liked the author’s relaxed writing style which makes the book easy to read.  The mysteries were complex and multifaceted.  The suspects are limited, but I believe readers will find it challenging to identify the killer.  I like how she bounces ideas off Nita, Jim, Dolly and Riley (her new circle of friends) and works with Chief Ray Boozer on solving the whodunit. The resolution relies on speculation instead of firm facts and there was an unanswered piece of the puzzle (a little fine tuning would have made a difference).  I enjoyed reading the refreshing Murder at Harbor Village and I look forward to reading the next A Down by the Bay Mystery. 

Murder at Harbor Village can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and GooglePlay.  I appreciate you visiting today and I hope you take the time to visit the other stops on this tour (schedule below).  There are character guest posts, characters interviews, and author guests posts.  On Sunday, I am featuring The First Love by Beverly Lewis.  I did not have the opportunity to share this Christian novel with you when it was released.  I hope you have a fascinating day.  Take care of yourself and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

Tour Participants

November 13 – Mallory Heart's Cozies – REVIEW

November 13 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – CHARACTER GUEST POST

November 14 – Bibliophile Reviews – REVIEW, GUEST POST

November 15 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews  REVIEW

November 15 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT  

November 16 – Readeropolis – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

November 16 – Carla Loves To Read – REVIEW

November 16 – Handcrafted Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

November 17 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

November 17 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

November 18 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

November 18 – Varietats – SPOTLIGHT

November 19 – Socrates' Book Reviews – REVIEW

November 19 – Melina's Book Blog – REVIEW

November 19 – Moonlight Rendezvous - REVIEW, GUEST POST

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