I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Murder at Harbor Village by G. P. Gardner on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.
Murder at Harbor Village (A Down by the Bay Mystery, Book 1)
Lyrical Underground (November 13, 2018)
Paperback: 216 pages
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 . . .
So nice to have a protagonist of (almost) retirement age, albeit a social work professional at an Atlanta university, who is offered an incentive for early retirement. Cleo Mack is weighing possibilities when she discovers Fairhope, a beautiful iconic Alabama coastal town, and is almost immediately drawn in by friendly local Nita Bergen, a resident at Harbor Village, touted as an active senior community with an ideal mix of activities, services, and opportunities for meeting and engaging with others of the same generation.
In short order Cleo is sold and finds herself clearing her desk at the university, arranging for an estate sale of her belongings, and accepting Apartment No. 8 keys at Harbor Village along with a promised part-time position as Resident Services Manager, as she’ll still be juggling finances. But it seems even before she can fully settle into her cozy little apartment, the corporate bigwig, Lee, whom she met just briefly, is discovered in the pool. Jaime, the curt Director of Assisted Living, was showing her around when Lee made sure she met the new assistant. Lee appears to have drowned but is quickly determined to have been murdered.
Jaime is immediately “kicked upstairs” and is out of there leaving Cleo thrust into the unlikely position of Executive Administrator in Jaime’s place. It doesn’t take long before Cleo begins to dissect the situation, discovering there were a lot of problems just under the surface of what appeared an idyllic situation. Along with realizing the enormity of her employment situation, she is dealing with the apartment cat who has decided it was time he came home and inspected the new occupant, along with complex discrepancies that include missing rental deposits and painkiller meds in the skilled nursing section of the community.
Dealing with her daughter and her ex, Travis McKenzie, Cleo discovers a shocker, that he is part owner of the complex (as well as others under the same umbrella) and Lee was his new bride. Lee used to drop in the complex on an infrequent basis and was universally disliked by everyone. There is a whole host of interesting and colorful support characters (including Nita’s husband), and I loved the author’s sense of humor in naming them…Patti (Wagon), Police Chief Boozer. There is no confusion with characters. The discovery of the calico provided a sub-plot in learning the name of the feline who turned out to have a perfectly charming name as well.
The well-plotted storyline goes into some detail with outlining a schedule for running the community, discoveries such as the number of units and those rented legitimately, all the employees and their roles, the layout of the different resident and support buildings, and the services provided (or lacked) that needed to be addressed. The logistical plan for fact-finding worked seamlessly into the subtle search for the antagonist, although the who was not really a surprise. The conclusion was weaved in a restrained and delicate delivery.
I received this ebook download by the publisher and NetGalley for this book tour and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. This is a debut in a new series and sets a promising stage for some delightful retirement community adventures. I’m interested in seeing these characters grow (particularly Patti). Recommended for those who enjoy a cozy mystery, beautiful geographic setting, and cantankerous and quirky characters.
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 gpgardner.com.
Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N – Kobo – Google Play
Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and please visit the other stops listed below!
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 14 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews -SPOTLIGHT
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
Thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this cozy mystery!
©2018 V Williams