Thursday, February 23, 2017

Book Review: Oliver Twisted by Cindy Brown (Ivy Meadows #3)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters, great plot, plenty of fun
Cons: I am not currently on a cruise
The Bottom Line:
Thief on a cruise ship
Ivy acting and sleuthing
Readers will find fun

Ivy Must Solve another Twisty Case

I really didn’t intend to go so long before I returned to the Ivy Meadows series.  After all, I enjoyed the first two books in the series, and I know that book 4 is coming soon.  In fact, it was that knowledge that prompted me to pick up Oliver Twisted, the third adventure of this part time actress and part time PI.

Her worlds are combining perfectly for this adventure as Ivy and her uncle Bob, her PI mentor, are taking on an assignment together.  They are going undercover on a Get Lit! cruise to find a thief.  People have been robbed of items on multiple cruises recently, and the owners want the thieves found.  Ivy and Bob are boarding the S.S. David Copperfield, a ship that is themed around the works of Charles Dickens.  Bob is going under cover as a rich rancher and Ivy is joining the cast of the current show – Oliver!  At Sea!

However, the ship has barely left the port when Ivy discovers her new roommate’s body stuffed into a closet in their room.  Meanwhile, Uncle Bob is sidetracked by a woman he’s met – a woman Ivy doesn’t trust because she is sure the woman is hiding something.  Have the thieves escalated to murder?  Is Uncle Bob in danger from his new friend?

Things really do jump in that quickly, and the pace never lags until we reach the climax.  There are some fun distractions along the way that Ivy has to separate from the clues that actually pertain to the case.  As things come together at the end, I was left in awe at how author Cindy Brown wove everything together.

I was a little worried that, with this book set on a cruise ship, we would miss some of the characters I’ve already come to love from Ivy’s life.  They managed to make some nice appearances mostly via texts and phone calls as Ivy tried to stay on top of a sub-plot taking place in her native Phoenix.  (Having gone on my first cruise last summer, I’m not sure I bought the cell phones working even sporadically at sea thing, but I was willing to let that go since I enjoyed the rest of the book so much.)

Since Ivy spends the book on the ship, we get to know her cast mates very well.  Those cast mates are, conveniently, the suspects, which makes the plot strong.  They are wonderful suspects as they kept me guessing until the end.

And really, how can you go wrong with the cruise ship setting?  It’s the next best thing to actually being on a cruise.  (If only I didn’t have to work to earn money for fun things like vacations, right?)

I can’t leave out the humor.  Ivy manages to get herself into some interesting situations over the course of the book that keep the story fun.  You’ll smile if not outright laugh at several of the situations.

Author Cindy Brown does a wonderful job of juggling all the elements of the plot and bringing them in for a satisfying ending.  If you haven’t met Ivy yet, be sure to do so today.  And if you already love Ivy, be sure to check out Oliver Twisted.

Looking for an encore?  Here are the rest of the Ivy Meadows Mysteries in order.


  1. Thanks, Mark! So glad you like Ivy!

  2. I'm not sure I'd want to go on a ship with a Charles Dickens theme but it sounds like lots of fun to read about! This is one of those series that I have no idea why it's taken me so long to actually start reading because it sounds so fun!

  3. I enjoy Ivy's capers. She's not your typical sleuth but she really throws herself into each mystery and gets the job done - while delivering a whole bunch of humor.