Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Death By Bikini

Wow! I was expecting this to be a fun title, since Now and Zen and The Finnish Line were both deftly crafted stories of the intricacies of life and love while studying abroad, but I was just not expecting such a teasingly paced page turner!

Aphra lives with her father at their remote resort. Her mother left years ago, and the reasons behind this are presented bit by bit. Life at the resort is fairly humdrum, since there are no children her age, so when Adam arrives with his family under mysterious circumstances, she is at first intrigued. After a guest is murdered on the beach (strangled by her bikini ties, hence the title), however, she does a little sleuthing and suspects that Adam's father may have had something to do with the death. In the course of investigating, she is involved in some harrowing encounters with unlikely villains, and finds out more about her mother as well as the cute boy. Death By Latte and Death By Denim are the sequels to come.

Really enjoyed the adventurous but put-upon Aphra, thought the details of the island and the Japanese guest added a lot to the story, and was intrigued by the slowly revealed pieces of the mystery, but what struck me the most were how grippingly the chase scenes were done. Joan Lowery Nixon has always been my g0-to author when it comes to mysteries that girls especially like, but this series will certainly circulate even better.

The real crime in this book? It was published in paperback only. Not fair at all.

Also read Joan Bauer's Peeled. I usually love Bauer for her quirky characters and unusual plots, but this was just too much. A local house is thought to be haunted by the ghost of a man who may or may not have killed his wife and her paramour, and when the house is written up as one of the top ten spooky sites in the state, odd characters start arriving in town. One of these is arrested trying to break into the house, and another man is found dead. Hildy, a budding newspaper reporter, tries to find out what is behind all of the goings on. Hildy was rather a smarty pants, and the whole situation seemed overblown. It's tough enough getting students to check out Rules of the Road and Hope was Here. I think that in my library, this would not circulate well.

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