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I've always thought that Matlacha (say Mat-la-SHAY), the funky Pine Island Florida fishing village cum art colony, would be a perfect setting for a mystery, when along comes Jessie Murphy, the perfect gal to sort out the riff from the raff of it all. You've got to love this lady - a Goodwill fashion queen who comes across as a ditzy airhead and whose best buddy is a gargoyle named Gar. Jessie's taken time off from her job, thrilled to be rekindling the flame of romance with her treasure-hunting guy, Will Rolins, who adores her. Will has just made a wonderful archaeological discovery, aka buried treasure. He offered to support Jessie in her painting career if only she'll rejoin him in the sandy saltwater and flip-flop lifestyle she adores. As she arrives in Matlacha, Jessie, to her horror, is met instead with the crime scene tape in place, blood stains on the floor, and pinholes where Will's treasure maps should have been. The sheriff insists that Will's death was a suicide, but he refuses to release the police report, and Jessie is bewildered. It is true that Will was often depressed and sometimes controlling. But why kill himself when he fulfilled his life's dream? If he meant to kill himself, why would he ask Jessie to join him? The facts don't sit straight with Jessie. She is determined to sort out the case. Jessie's a redheaded Irish Bostonian whose art career has gone on the back burner as she struggles to earn a living. Meanwhile certain investigative skills Jessie has acquired - a stint in a private investigator's office, classes in theater and karate - all come into play as she trails suspects and sometimes overplays her hand, arousing the suspicions of whoever it is who makes crank calls to her in the middle of the night. Do not be fooled - there's way more to Jessie than meets the eye, and do not - repeat, do not - miss this pause-resisting listen with a pelican's-eye view of Florida's barrier island landscape.
©2014 jd daniels (P)2015 jd daniels