COCONUT DROP DEAD - Olivia Matthews
Spice Isle Bakery Mysteries (Book #3)
St. Martin's Press
Reviewer: Wayne Jordan | Rating: A
REVIEW: In COCONUT DROP DEAD, Olivia takes readers back to Little Caribbean, Brooklyn, New York, to the delightful family bakery and characters we have watched outsmart the detectives and solved murders in the previous books in Spice Isle Bakery Mysteries.
In this story Camille, lead singer of an up-and-coming reggae band, falls down a flight of steps to her death. Of course, at first, the detectives rule the death an accident, but eventually change their mind when amateur sleuth, Lyndsay Murray, and the members of her murder-solving family, point out the reasons why the ‘accidental fall’ is actually a ‘push’ and ‘murder’.
The story goes at a brisk pace with enough suspects to keep readers wondering, however, this time, detective Bryce, acknowledges Lyndsay’s ability for solving murders and invites her to ‘consult’. The murder plot is well-constructed and, I must confess that, I did not figure out ‘who done it’ until Lyndsay’s thoughtful reasoning revealed who the killer is, and in the book’s final moment puts her in danger.
While the compelling murder mystery is the focus of the story, like the two books before, the story works so well on other levels. The sense of community, the colorful secondary characters, and the cultural awareness of the heroine and her family, especially her grandmother’s, adds to its appeal. All these elements stand out, but it is the relationship dynamics of the members of Lyndsay’s family that makes this story special and breathes extra life into it. They love and care for each other, a fact that is clearly seen in their interaction while solving the case and working to make the bakery successful.
Also important is the personal growth of our heroine. With each book, Lyndsay becomes more confident in her role of bakery owner and amateur sleuth. Her relationship with Detective Bryce improves and there is definitely an attraction and subtle chemistry between them. I hope that Ms. Matthews continues to develop this relationship in future books.
COCONUT DROP DEAD builds on the previous books and is my favorite of Ms. Matthew’s cozy mysteries. It’s a well-written mystery with a compelling plot, and solid characters who are appealing. Of course, I can’t forget the delicious pastries and food! I’d love to nibble on one of those Coconut Drops right now!
3rd January 2024 | email@example.com