Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great main characters, fun setting well used, great stories
Cons: All cons washed away
The Bottom Line:
Three undersea tails
Mystery with fantasy
Go Under the Sea for this Novella Collection
While I mostly read cozy mysteries, if you pay attention to my reviews, you’ll find that I also enjoy fantasy. So when Diane Vallere announced she was going to write three mystery novellas featuring mermaids, I immediately perked up. I waited until the stories were collected in one volume, Mermaid Mysteries, and they were an enjoyable as I expected them to be.
Each story in this collection features a one of three sisters. They are all the daughter of the leader of Sirenia, one of many settlements of mermaids under the sea.
Up first is Zoe, the middles of the three sisters, in “Tails from the Deep.” Unlike her sisters, Zoe loves to explore. One of her favorite places is a shipwreck beyond the edges of her merfolk village. She sneaks out there quite frequently, so when things seem off one day, she is quick to notice. When she returns the next day, she finds a human diver trapped on the bottom next to a dead body. She frees the diver, but her actions lead to questions that might impact her settlement. Can she figure out who to trust and what is really going on?
Kyra, the youngest sisters, is the star of the second story, “Murky Waters.” She has been coddled and babied her entire life. Known for her beauty and her singing voice, she plays into both of those roles, flirting with every merman who shows interest. On her way to music lessons one morning, she finds the Nautilus Vault opened and several squid tied up near the entrance. She frees them, but she can tell someone has been inside the vault. Can she figure out who is responsible?
Finally comes “Sleeping with the Fishes,” which is oldest sister Ava’s time to shine. Ava has been groomed to take over the leadership of Sirenia someday. Most view Ava as aloof and bossy, but Ava will be the first to tell you she is really afraid – afraid her past will come out and afraid she will fail when the time comes. The time comes sooner than she expected when Mother is kidnapped and Ava must take over leadership immediately. Then comes word that sharks are encroaching on mermaid territory. Can Ava deal with this crisis?
This is the order the stories were released, and it is best to read them in this order since this is the order in which the stories take place. There are references to past adventures in the later stories.
These books are just as much coming of age tales as they are mysteries. Each of the sisters grows as their story unfolds, and I enjoyed watching these transformations.
Each story is told first person from the point of view of the sister who stars in that story, and it is very interesting to watch how the different sisters view those around them. Through each one’s interactions, we get a more complete picture of the other residents of Sirenia. No, these other residents aren’t as well developed as the sisters, but they are developed enough to help draw us into the undersea world.
Speaking of the undersea world, this is a delightful place. There are some fun twists on things that we as humans take for granted, and their take on humans and our world made me smile at times. It’s those little details I loved, and there were enough of them to make me feel like I was under water myself as I was reading. I’ve always been drawn to water, and this made me want to live under water even more. If only I didn’t have to breath, right?
The mysteries were compelling. I did feel like the climax to Zoe’s story was a bit abrupt, but that is my only complaint with this collection, and it is a minor one.
These stories were originally released individually as ebooks only. Then, they were collected into one ebook offering as well as collected into a print collection. However you want to get them is fine, but make sure you don’t double buy.
I do want to mention again that these stories are novellas. Each story is about 90 pages each. As long as you know this going in, you’ll be fine.
I realize Mermaid Mysteries might not be for everyone. But if you are willing to try something new, you’ll be glad you picked up this collection. While this feels like a complete collection, I hope that Diane Vallere decides to journey back under the sea someday for some more tails. I would certainly go along for the ride.