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樂天超級點數
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    Compelling Characters in Melbourne Beach

    Sometimes the setting of a book is all-important. The fact that Kathleen Bridge set the first book, Death by the Sea, #1 By the Sea Mysteries, in the Melbourne, Florida environs, made me want to try it. Who doesn’t love mid-Florida and Melbourne Beach? That being said, the idea of an old hotel, the Indiatlantic, with ties to older actors and ghosts of stories of former glory days,...well, surely this is a hotel/emporium worth revering. Liz Holt has returned here, tail between her legs, to live with her father, great-aunt Amelia, and “Grand-Pierre.” While we wait excruciatingly throughout the book to discover Liz’s past, we get to see the great personality development of Aunt Amelia, (who was a character actress on Dark Shadows in the 1960’s); Pierre, the beloved chef who is slowly losing his mind to Alzheimer’s; and Liz’s dad, who is just wonderful but also interested in the female investigator. The relationships are so warm and caring one could almost wish to meet those three! Some other characters I loved; some no one is expected to love. Barnacle Bob, the irascible parrot with a pirate’s vocabulary, adds fun and spice. Other animals populate the book, adding enjoyment for an animal lover. Gramps’ grandson, Ryan, is an enigma. Regina Harrington-Worth is just plain insufferably rude. The bottom line for me: there was more language than I would like, but I will be back to see what happens next to this compelling cast of characters. I was given a complimentary copy of this book from the author and NetGalley. A positive review was not required, and the complimentary aspect in no way influenced my opinions, for which I am solely responsible.
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    A strong start to a new series

    Famous author, Liz Holt, returns to her historic family hotel in Melbourne Beach, Florida after the gruesome and public breakup of her relationship with another famous author. While she had hoped to get bak to writing and a quiet life, the death of a hotel guest changes her plans and she teams up with her extended hotel family and friends to find out who did it and why. As you read the story you can almost smell the salty air. You’ll be transported to the Indialantic Hotel and the characters, especially Auntie Amelia, will come to life in your mind. A very strong start to a new series that I am eager to continue on with.
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    A new cozy mystery series set in Melbourne, Floria

    Death by the Sea by Kathleen Bridge is the first novel in A By the Sea Mystery series. Elizabeth “Liz” Holt has returned home to Melbourne Beach, Florida to The Indialantic by the Sea Hotel and Emporium which is owned by Amelia Eden Holt, her aunt. Aunt Amelia is an eccentric former actress who helped raise Liz along with Liz’s father, Fenton Holt. Liz is living in the beach house. She helps out in the hotel and is working on her next novel (well—she is supposed to be). Their latest guest is Regina Harrington-Worth and her husband David who will be staying with them while their historic home is being demolished and a modern monstrosity is built in its place. Regina considers The Indialantic beneath her, but it is the only hotel with a vacancy that will allow pets. After a successful Spring Fling event, they discover that Regina was found dead in her suite, her husband was stabbed, and some very expensive jewels have gone missing. Liz immediately dives in to find who committed the dastardly deed. Who disliked Regina enough to kill her (that is one long suspect list)? Join Liz at The Indialantic as she examines the clues and questions the suspects to catch the evildoer. Death by the Sea is a slow starter. The murder does not happen until the forty-four percent mark. The beginning of the book is an introduction to the Liz, the hotel, the employees, Liz’s family, the guests, and the shops and their owners. The author overwhelms readers with the amount of information she is dishing out. Kathleen Bridge is a wordy writer. It creates a rich environment, but it also makes a slow-moving story. I do like the beautiful hotel and emporium that Ms. Bridge created in Death by the Sea. I did feel that the story jumps around making it disjointed. Liz has returned home after a disastrous relationship that ended in Liz being physically injured. Since Liz and her paramour are public figures, the whole debacle was fodder for the media. There are numerous quirky characters with the biggest one being Aunt Amelia. A popular actress during the 1960s who has passed her love of 60s sitcoms and movies along to Liz. The various shows and movies from that time-period are mentioned throughout the book (Dark Shadows, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, Gilligan’s Island for example). I enjoyed the comments regarding the popular teen girl mystery novels which included Nancy Drew, Connie Blair, and Dana Girls (which I collect). There was an abundance of repetition (it is a common malady in books that I have read recently) along with a cliché nasty detective. The pace picks up slightly in the second half of the book as the investigation gets under way. I think the author tried to put too much into one book. The hotel, the numerous quirky characters, the unique shops, Liz’s nemesis, Liz and her issues, a love interest, Regina’s father and how he died, the treasure of the San Carlos, Spring Fling, Fenton Holt and his practice, the obnoxious bird with the foul mouth, the hairless cat, and Liz and her writing difficulties are just a few of the items in the book. The murder of Regina was not as complicated as it seemed, and it can be solved before the reveal. At the end of the book, readers are still left wondering how Liz was injured. We are told about her injuries, but not how they happened. There are also some contradictions (one example is the hotel is not doing well, but an employee has a large suite and some people seem to live there for free). My rating for Death by the Sea is 3 out of 5 stars. I am hoping the author will scale back in A Killing by the Sea.
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