My Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Age Category: Adult
Type of romance: MF
Join barefoot sleuth Ellie on her fourth adventure as she finds mystery and murder lurking among the swaying palm trees and white sand beaches of Gulf Coast Florida.
When death strikes a bikini contest at her luxury beach resort, Ellie must use all her wits to find the killer. Help comes from Hemingway the parrot and Mojito the resort cat – not to mention her eccentric Aunt Olive – but Ellie also has other things on her mind.
With her time in the Sunshine State coming to an end, she has to decide whether to follow her heart and let her “vacation fling” with handsome resort doctor Blake Thornton turn into something more…
I received a free copy from the author and voluntarily reviewed it.
Bikinis and Murder is the last book in the series. I’ve enjoyed this sun and beach vacation themed cozy mystery so far and I was excited to dive into the last book in the series. This was a light and fast paced read, which fit what I was in the mood for and I enjoyed reading it.
I didn’t really care for the bikini contest plot line for this book, but I did enjoy the book and following along with the mystery. As the last book in the series I had expected more focus to be on what Ellie would do with her life, but that actually didn’t get addressed until very late in the book. The ending leaves things pretty open with a hint of which choice Ellie probably will make for her future, but it felt a bit unsatisfying to me. I would’ve liked a more clearer direction and to see what she decided and maybe a hint of how that pans out. On the other hand it did feel like a good point to end the series now that Ellie’s vacation is over, while still leaving things open for possible future books.
The mystery was a solid one. It was interesting with enough possible suspects and a nice twist. I liked how besides the murder there were a few other things going on and it was unclear whether these were connected or not and if yes how. With the multiple suspects and possible angles and motives it felt unclear for a long time which direction it would go in. It felt like there wasn’t enough evidence for either suspect even though Ellie, her aunt and Blake all jump on a possible suspect. So it was interesting to see things play out. I did manage to predict a few of the red herrings and was even thinking in the right direction for the suspect a few times, but I was still surprised when things came to light.
One thing about the mystery that didn’t work for me was how Ellie how got involved this time, she’s determined to not get involved and sorta gets pushed into it by her aunt. Sh eventually gets more invested and manages to solve it, but to me it felt like she wasn’t really into solving the mystery in this book and it felt a bit annoying to me how she allowed her aunt to push her into some situations. I also didn’t really care for the ex plot line, Blake’s ex shows up and has a connection to the mystery. I was happy with how the romance was resolved, but would’ve liked to see a bit more of them and them being together.
Like in the previous books I enjoyed the resort pets in this book. The cat Mojito and the parrot Hemmington again make multiple appearances and I liked the scenes with them in it.
To summarize: This was a fun ending to this series. It has another solid mystery, even tough I personally didn’t really care about the bikini contest theme of this book. There were plenty of suspects and different possible motives that made me unsure who the murderer was. I did manage to figure out a few of the red herrings, but wasn’t fully sure who the murderer was until the reveal toward the end. I liked the appearances of the resort pets again in this book and they make for some funny scenes. I did feel like the ending to the series wasn’t as satisfying as I had hoped, it mostly reads like just another mystery and at the end there is a bit of a hint of what might be next for Ellie. All in all this was a fun cozy mystery series with a vacation theme.