Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong mystery, fun setting
Cons: Supporting cast could be stronger
The Bottom Line:
Beach festival death
Lucy tries to clear her friend
Twists in fun setting
Beach Festival Interrupted by Murder
Yes, I enjoy reading books set during the season I’m reading them, but sometimes, it is wonderful to read out of season. We’ve been having a cold (by our standards) winter in Southern California (go ahead and laugh now, but it has been below freezing at night which is unusually cold for us), so it was absolutely fabulous to enjoy a virtual trip to the beach with One Feta in the Grave.
It’s mid-August in Ocean Crest, New Jersey, and Lucy Berberian is on the planning committee for this year’s beach festival. This event is designed to help bring in tourists before summer ends since so many of the businesses rely on tourist money to get them through the upcoming slower nine months. The week includes a sand sculpture contest, food festival, and beach volleyball among other events.
Unfortunately, Archie Kincaide is proving to be a pain during the week. He owns a shop on the boardwalk, and he and his neighbor have been feuding since Archie moved to town. He’s also been causing problems for Lucy’s friend Katie, not only at the festival but also at her job at city hall. Taking a break one afternoon, Lucy is walking on the beach when she discovers Archie’s body under the boardwalk. It’s clear he’s been shot, but who did it? With Katie among Detective Clemmons’s suspects, Lucy jumps in to figure out what really happened.
Ocean Crest has always struck me as the type of place I’d love to regularly visit on vacation, and this book set during August didn’t disappoint. It made me want to head to the closest beach and stick my feet in the warm sand. Yes, there are plenty of scenes set in Kebab Kitchen, the Mediterranean restaurant that Lucy’s parents opened. I’d be happy to pop in there for dinner after a day at the beach.
Of course, there is the pesky business of the murder. While there are two obvious suspects very early on, Lucy manages to uncover several more not too long after she finds the body. I enjoyed how the plot unfolded with the twists and red herrings that were introduced along the way, and I loved the climax.
My only complaint in this book involves the characters. While Lucy and Katie are well developed, I still don’t feel we’ve gotten to know the supporting players well. Don’t get me wrong, I like them. Well, most of them; there’s one that annoys me, but that character is definitely growing on me. Anyway, it would be nice if we saw a bit more of them and saw them in a little different light. Mind you, this is a minor complaint overall. The suspects are definitely strong and developed enough to keep us guessing as to who might have done it.
Yes, this is a book set at a restaurant, and that means we get three delicious looking recipes.
If you are looking to throw off the late winter blues, One Feta in the Grave is just what the doctor ordered. Or save it for a beach read this summer. Either way, you’ll enjoy this visit with Lucy.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.