Murder on the Oceania

4 Stars

This was a fun sweet read. It sets up all the characters. Has a few snippets of comedy though not much, and even ends with the promise of romance. Or, at the very least, a steamy one-night stand. This is a cruise after all and adults will do what adults do.

What I like about this one is that it meets cosy mystery standards. We have a small cast, two best friends and a head of security I think. Even a good amount of plausible suspects. And as much as it pains me to type this, killer cheesecake. Honestly, this hurts my soul because cheesecake should never be anything but amazing.

The pacing is short, swift and gets the job done. The beginning was a bit confusing when there was talk about vacationing in the home town after we had already established the dinner part was in motion so the time step was odd and considering how long it takes to prep for these things even more odd as I don’t see how they had the free time to do this and do the cruise prep as well.

After that, the fun happens. Murder. What I like about this is that the lead character actually goes and does some research. It’s all neat and tied up real fast but it shows the main character getting involved, digging up dirt and trying to solve the mystery so she doesn’t get fired. We get all the information on who could have done it and are now armed for an even quicker ending, and all without knowing who actually tainted a desert as awesome as cheesecake.

The interrogation was weird. I expected the three suspects to start out together and then be separated to make them sweat it out not knowing what was going on in the room. The interrogator even said he just wanted to ask the three of them some questions more than once. In contrast, he was talking to the first suspect like he was alone. He was but it just didn’t read that way.

Also, I’m assuming the dead wife’s maiden name was Law. But even with rereads I still couldn’t find this. But the main character keeps saying ‘the Law’s’ so I had to assume this was what it was. But, again the wife was only mentioned with her married title. So that was another thing that was weird.

Cosy mysteries tend to have quick resolves at the end. This one, however, was so sudden. The murderer just blurted it out without any of the buildup to make them crack. Honestly, half a page would’ve been sufficient. It is supposed to be quick, but a tiny bit of breaking them down would have been enough to sell it. Most people even when guilty, crying and obviously lying, will still lie anyway even if they do crack after. And, as far as interrogations go, the overly direct approach with the first suspect, especially when it was clear he would give up zero information was such an odd tactic to take.

And lastly, how did they poison the cheesecake. Even with all the things that went on at the very least when a case is tied up how they did it should be explained. Also, the complete absence of the friend in this story when she is so present in the beginning is odd. Her job is on the line too after all. Why didn’t our heroine recruit her into the internet deep dive?

For the most part, this story hit all the notes of a cosy mystery. It had humour, though not quite as much as expected, it had actual detective work going on, and although obvious, it wasn’t crazy obvious so the ending still had a hint of surprise. But the interrogation could’ve done with one more page time as it is it was a bit of a let down. More of the bestie would’ve been nice, and of course explaining how the crime was committed. Beyond that though, this story checks most of the boxes of what a cosy mystery should be.

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