Narrator: Emily Durante
Series: Enchanted Bay Mystery #2
Published by Dreamscape Media on July 13, 2021
Genres: Cozy Mystery
Length: 10 hrs 20 mins
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The annual Mermaid Festival is the setting for Esme Addison's sunny-yet-sinister second Enchanted Bay mystery.
The small town of Bellamy Bay has its share of skeletons in its closet, but it isn't used to bodies turning up in the local history museum. After all, this coastal North Carolina town is much like any other...except, of course, for the mermaids.
Helping to run the family business, an herbal apothecary while keeping her supernatural secret hidden is no easy feat for water witch Aleksandra Daniels. But somehow she's still found time to help her friend Celeste, who has her own Caribbean mermaid heritage plan the annual Mermaid Festival. As fun-seekers throng the beaches, Alex gets to know and is intrigued by renowned artist Neve Ryland, who's in town to decorate the local park with a mermaid-themed mural. Celeste, however, is less enamored with the artist, as Neve has been spending entirely too much one-on-one time with her boyfriend Jasper, director of Bellamy Bay's history museum. Then, a reception for Neve ends abruptly when the artist is found dead in his office.
The police investigation nets Celeste who asks Alex to find the true culprit. With the help of her magically-inclined aunt and cousins, Alex dives in to clear her friend's name. But there was more to Neve Ryland than met the eye...and Alex fears she may be in way too deep. Will she catch the crook or be next on the hook?
Alex Daniels has settled into Bellamy Bay well and is helping out at the family herbal apothecary. Her aunt and cousins have welcomed her with open arms, and she is immersed in her mermaid heritage, learning her skills and unearthing talents. Everyone in town is looking forward to the Mermail Festival. As part of the festival, Neve Ryland, a mural artist, is invited to paint and unveil a mural for the visitors’ center. Shortly after the unveiling, Neve is found murdered. Once again, Detective Jack Frazier, Alex’s boyfriend, has settled on a person Alex is close to as the main suspect. Honestly, I’m not sure what Alex sees in Jack. We never see them having fun together, just eating and grumping at each other about the cases. He keeps secrets from her, doesn’t take her opinions seriously, and looks down on her family business. Granted, Alex is keeping secrets too, but I don’t think Jack would believe her if she told him she’s a magical.
I didn’t love this one. Neve was wrapped up in some kind of global conspiracy around mythological weapons, like the Mermaid of Warsaw’s shield. I prefer mysteries that are smaller, centered on people in the town, murders that are personal. I don’t want governments or the military involved or grand conspiracies.
On the other hand, I did like learning more about the world and different types of magicals. I enjoy the characters for the most part and the town is absolutely lovely. According to the author’s blog, the third in the series will delve deeper into the Mami Wata myth, so I may have to pick it up when it comes out.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: