My Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Age Category: Adult
Type of romance: MF
Ellie is looking forward to finally enjoying her unexpected vacation in Florida: strolling on the white sand beaches, lounging in luxurious cabanas, and swimming in the sparkling waters of the Gulf… But she’s barely sipped her first mojito before she finds herself sucked into another mystery! This time, Ellie is on the trail of a clever murderer who uses a deadly tiki cocktail to kill and her search for clues takes her aboard a luxury yacht, fishing in Tampa Bay,and even up close and personal with one of the Sunshine State’s most famous residents: the American alligator! Ellie is horrified when her newfound friend – headwaiter Sol – is named the key suspect and she’s determined to prove his innocence.But it’s not just the murder that’s troubling her: there’s also her budding romance with handsome resort doctor Blake Thornton and his strange behavior on the night of the murder. Is he cheating on her? Or is it something more sinister?With her eccentric Aunt Olive giving her sleuthing tips and the two resort animals lending a beak and a paw, Ellie is sure she can crack the case. But if she turns out to be wrong, she might find out what “swimming with the fishes” really means….
GENRE: beach mystery, cat cozy mystery series, culinary cozy mysteries, women sleuth, amateur sleuth, humorous cozy mysteries
I received a free copy from the author and voluntarily reviewed it.
Cocktails and Murder is the third book in H.Y. Hanna’s Barefoot Sleuth Cozy Mystery series. It follows Ellie while she’s on vacation at a beach resort in Florida and solves mysteries. The unique setting and having a character be on vacation and solving mysteries is definitely one of the fun things about this series.
In this book Ellie gets involved in another mystery after overhearing some conversations a guy had who later gets murdered. Then her friend Sol is the main suspects and she is determined to find the real killer. The mystery didn’t grip me as much as I wanted. There were a few possible suspects that all had a good motive. It just wasn’t as interesting of a mystery somehow. My favorite part was actually finding out some of the secrets the side characters were keeping that made them look suspicious. There were a few obvious red herrings, but at the end I was still left with a few possible suspects. I had figured out the explanation of a few of the inconsistencies/ clues and predicted a few reveals. Sometimes it’s fun to be able to guess those, but here it just felt like they were a bit too obvious.
While I didn’t enjoy the mystery as much as in some of the previous books I still had fun reading this one. The sunny setting of the beach resort makes for an interesting cozy mystery setting. In this book Ellie learns more about cocktails thanks to a class as well as alligators due to a visit to an alligator farm. I like how Ellie believes in Sol’s innocence and stands up for her friend. There are some fun scenes with her aunt Olive. And the two resort pets make some fun appearances as well.
There were a few scenes that felt a bit over the top or ridiculous at times, like one of the later scenes at the farm. Or how Ellie seems to overhear all the relevant conversations or stumble upon the right scene to get information. I didn’t really care for the romance troubles in this one, but that’s mainly as it’s such an obvious ploy that happens in so many books. On the other hand given what happened in her past it did make sense how Ellie reacted to what she saw. And I was happy that she was able to admit when she’s wrong. There are also a few new side characters we learn about as well in this book.
To summarize: This was another fun read in this series. The beach resort setting of this cozy mystery makes for a fun and unique setting. The mystery in this one didn’t really grip me, but I liked uncovering some of the secrets people were keeping. A few of the red herrings or reveals seemed a bit obvious to me, which lessened the fun of the mystery a bit. I like how Ellie got involved and had a motivation to solve the mystery as her friend was the main suspect. There are some fun scenes with Ellie and her aunt Olive as well as the two resort pets that made some fun appearances. I liked the bit we learn about alligators in this book. I didn’t care for the romance troubles as the romance didn’t progress much in this book and the hurdle was an obvious one you often see in romances. I did find how Ellie reacted realistic, but I was glad when it got resolved. All in all this continues to be a fun cozy mystery series.