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  • Writer's pictureCaitlyn Lynch

Book Review: Much Ado About Nauticaling by Gabby Allan

Set on the picturesque Santa Catalina island off the California coast, Whitney Dagner lives an idyllic life, running her gift shop and helping out her brother with the family tour business, taking out tours on their glass bottomed boat. When a body floats under the boat one evening, paradise is thoroughly disturbed, however, and when it turns out that Whitney’s brother Nick not only had been with the victim, but was sleeping with his wife… well, Whitney’s going to have her work cut out for her to prove Nick’s innocence.

This is rather charming, with lots of local colour on an island where folks drive golf buggies instead of cars and the residents all seem to know each other. Whitney has spent years away working in the corporate world (doing something unspecified in a railroad company office) but is now back and reconnecting with old friends, as well as dealing with the unexpected appearance of love interest Felix, who she thought had dumped her because he wasn’t interested in a long distance relationship, but has taken a job on the island and is making it clear he’s there for Whitney.

I’m not entirely sure how old Whitney or her brother are - we aren’t given exact numbers - but they both act pretty young and naive. My favourite character was easily their grandmother (but NEVER call her that!) Goldy. The mystery left a few too many things unanswered - did Jules have money, or was he in debt, or did everyone on the island owe him money? And the motive for the second murder made no sense whatsoever as the murderer would not actually have benefited, or if they did, it wasn’t explained how.

This was fun enough that I’d probably pick up the next in the series, but I want to see more character development and a deeper dive into the actual mystery. I’ll give this four stars.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.

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