Summer Merriweather finds herself dealing with many of the same issues she faced the last time I checked in with her. She’s slowly coming to turn with her mother Hildy’s death. She’s debating her future, and whether it involves returning to academia or staying in Brigid’s Island and running her newly inherited store, Beach Reads Bookshop. And oh yeah. Murder and mystery are lurking around every corner.
Yet Summer continues to grow as a character, and it’s a testament to author Maggie Blackburn’s writing that she’s allowed her sleuth the chance to be complicated and evolve over the course of two books. This isn’t to suggest that other cozy mysteries are overly simple—that’s not true—but here, Summer is obviously working through the trauma and complications that follow death. Blackburn doesn’t shy away from exploring that emotional turmoil, and it’s even deeper in this book because she’s added a layer of familial complications.
Even so, that doesn’t mean things aren’t fun and light. This is a cozy after all and Summer falls into many of the wild shenanigans her other contemporary detectives do. Her cadre of bookshop pals band together to help her explore a cold case and the disappearance of a visiting author, and those interactions are really the highlight of the book. Danger might follow Summer, but it’s hard to imagine her not triumphing with this group behind her.
A solid mystery, great fun, and a realistic sense of characters makes Once Upon a Seaside Murder a solid addition to a young series.
Note: I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.