With the dreaded family reunion looming over her head - and a broken heart to boot - Augusta Josephine Burnette takes matters in hand and leaves her hometown for a job in a seaside resort.
The setting is elegance incarnate, but the atmosphere says something else entirely. With her innate sense of adventure (and just plain nosiness), AJ sets out to unravel exactly what - and who - the Miramar Resort is hiding.
AJ begins to think that time spent with her crazy family might not be as lethal as the time spent at the Miramar....
Augustus Josephine (AJ) Burnette takes a job at the coastal Miramar Resort in San Blanco to get over a bad romance and a dreaded family reunion in Murder at the Miramar by Dane McCaslin. This starts off looking like a dream job with an amazing boss, Emmy, but on AJ’s first full day on the job, first a 6-year-old girl goes missing, and when they find her, they discover her next to the body of a stranger. Then, later that night, the keyboardist, Miguel, gets electrocuted as he starts playing for an entertainment night. With two bodies on her first day, AJ is not so sure about Miramar Resort, except that she loves the terrific kitchen and their amazing cookies, which everyone at the resort has quickly come to identify as something AJ lives.
Then the next day AJ’s cousin and best friend, Ellie, who thinks of herself as a psychic with her tarot cards, suddenly shows up, certain that the cards are warning her of danger on behalf of AJ. But as AJ tries to find Emmy to introduce her to Ellie, the pair find the manager of the resort, the third unrelated victim to this mysterious killer. With this, AJ decides that she has had enough of Miramar and decides to lock herself into her unit until the police allow her to go home. But while she is out of the room, she returns to hear groaning inside and calls the police, who find Ellie beaten to a pulp. The unique cousin actually scared off her attacker with her tarot cards! As things continue and more threats come AJ and Ellie’s way, the pair decide that enough is enough and step up to investigate.
I really enjoyed listening to this book, which has a strong plot and great characters. One detail I appreciate about this book is the way that AJ makes a point to call the police and not try to take things into her own hands with stupid intrepidity, as so many main characters in cozy mysteries do. AJ is clearly drawn to Detective Baird, whom she privately nicknames Detective Dimples, for example blushing in his presence, but her motivation for calling the police is not to be with him but rather because that is the prudent thing to do. I also appreciate the very realistic relationship between AJ and Ellie. They clearly love each other but also argue and get each other into trouble. The pair come across as very real, genuine people. I really enjoyed the character of Sal, the survivalist the pair run into while escaping from the enemy and who has stocked up, complete with satellite phone in case someone invades the country!
Anne Wittman performs the audio edition of this book. She does a decent job, not bad but not among my favorite narration performances either. Her voices for the Latin American workers at the resort sounded to me like a stereotype of a white person trying to sound Spanish (think of I Love Lucy and when Lucy tries to imitate Ricky’s accent). But I asked my Salvadoran husband about the accent, and he says the accent is realistic for certain parts of Mexico.
Murder at the Miramar is a great start to a new series. So far, the series has only one book out on audio, but I’m hoping that the rest will be released soon. I had no idea of the solution, but it was not unrealistic either. I was very impressed by this book. I give it five stars!