Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Once Upon a Seaside Murder by Maggie Blackburn

Once Upon a Seaside Murder 
Book Summary

As the holidays approach, bookstore owner Summer Merriwether learns a dark secret in this second volume of Maggie Blackburn's Beach Reads mystery series.

There's no place like home for the holidays, even if home is sleepy, beachside Brigid's Island, NC. During this season for giving, the town wakes up to a welcome throng of shoppers--and Beach Reads is no exception. But bookseller Summer Merriwether's Christmas cheer turns to cringing fear when she uncovers a deadly secret about her late mother--a secret someone will kill to keep.

When the local library hosts a cozy mystery panel discussion, Summer learns that one of the authors on the panel based her book on an actual murder that shook Brigid's Island thirty-five years before. Worse, she soon learns that her dearly missed mother, Hildy, took a disturbingly deep interest in the case, going so far as to collect clippings and keep a journal of the dark doings. This doesn't jibe with Summer's memories of her usually cheery mother at all.

Tidings get worse when Summer learns of her long-lost biological family's involvement in the crime...and still worse when the life of the book's author is threatened. With the help of Hildy's plucky book club, Summer puts her scholarly smarts to work on protecting the cozy author and solving the decades-old murder.

But this ghost from Christmas past may still be deadly in the present, and if she can't find the killer, Summer's future will be brief.
My Thoughts

Summer Merriweather is still reeling from the loss of her mother.  It is particularly difficult as Christmas nears.  Beach Reads is hosting a cozy mystery author panel discussion, but someone is not happy that Mimi Sinclair, author of Mermaid Point Murder, is coming to town.  Threats and warnings proceed the kidnapping of the author.  Summer works to discover who has taken Mimi and where she could be kept.  If Summer cannot figure it out in time, she could lose something precious to her.  Once Upon a Seaside Murder by Maggie Blackburn is the 2nd A Beach Reads Mystery.  It can be read as a standalone if you have not had a chance to indulge in Little Bookshop of Murder.  I found Once Upon a Seaside Murder a Debbie downer.  There is a lot of sadness, anxiousness, and stress in the story.  Summer has several issues that affect her personality.  She is grieving the loss of her mother, she zones out, and she is terrified of spiders.  We get to hear in detail about her thoughts and feelings.   These issues, of course, affect her attitude.  I just do not find Summer appealing as a protagonist.  Summer is learning about her birth father and family.  We get to meet her newly found half-siblings as well as a grandmother plus she learns about a host of other relatives.  The whodunit ties to a murder that occurred at Mermaid Point over thirty years ago.  There are threats, break ins, and a kidnapping.  There was one thing done that was a little extreme for a cozy mystery.  The mystery is resolved in the end with complete explanation.  I wish Once Upon a Seaside Murder had been lighter and shorter.  I hope going forward that Summer starts to move past her grief and fears.  There are some good characters in the story such as Glads, Marilyn, Mia, and Aunt Agatha.  They are fun and engaging.  Let us not forget Mr. Darcy.  I also enjoyed the descriptions of the bookstore.  I could get lost for hours inside Beach Reads.  Once Upon a Seaside Murder takes readers to Brigid’s Island, North Carolina where mayhem ensues when a cozy mystery author is kidnapped, and old secrets come to light. 

Once Upon a Seaside Murder is available from Amazon* as well as other major booksellers (Barnes & Noble, Kobo, etc.).  The first A Beach Reads Mystery is Little Bookshop of Murder.  Maggie Blackburn writes A Cora Crafts Mysteries under Mollie Cox Bryan.  Thank you for joining me today and reading my review.  Some of the other new book releases today are In Hot Water by Kate Kingsbury, Mango Mambo Murder by Raquel V. Reyes, Slashing through the Snow by Jacqueline Frost, Digging up Trouble by Kitt Crowe, A Brush with Murder by Bailee Abbott, Christmas by the Book by Anne Marie Ryan, and Strawberries & Crime by Elle Brooke White.  So many new cozy mysteries to read!  I hope that you have a day filled with joy.  Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 

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