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  • Writer's pictureCaitlyn Lynch

Book Review: On Deadly Tides by Elizabeth J. Duncan

Attending an art retreat at picturesque Beaumaris on Anglesey on North Wales, Penny Brannigan is pleased to meet new people - friendly (and attractive) wildlife photographer Colin, clever young New Zealand journalist Jessica, her fellow artists and the staff at the hotel. But on her first morning out painting, she and her painter friend find Jessica’s dead body on the beach, and suddenly her peaceful weekend is something else entirely.

Penny is an interesting variant in the modern cozy mystery heroine; most of them are twenty and thirty-somethings, but Penny is in her fifties, and she has slightly different priorities. This is apparently book 11 in this series, but I think you could jump in here and pick up without missing out on anything… though if you have been following Penny’s journey throughout the series, you might be slightly startled by her suddenly developing a love interest here and (slight spoiler) actually marrying him at the end of the book.

I struggled to get into the book because in the first few chapters, there was an awful lot of ‘telling’ rather than going on as everyone was introduced, and the locations were described. This did improve as things went on but I am marking down a star for it because a good editor should have helped the author to fix things up.

The cat on the cover is also pretty misleading. Yes, Penny owns a cat. But it doesn’t feature in the story at all, is only mentioned a couple of times, and frankly only seems to be there because an animal is Obligatory in the genre. It’s not. Miss Marple didn’t need a cat. If there isn’t one playing a significant role in your story, don’t put it on the cover, because your animal-loving readers will be annoyed by the bait and switch. I was.

Overall, this was okay; I liked Penny as a character but the telling made the beginning of the book especially very dull, and the bait and switch with the cat on the cover annoyed me. I’ll give it three stars.

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

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