Series: Tourist Trap Mysteries #10
Published by Kensington Genres: Cozy Mystery
Source: the publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository | Bookshop | Barnes & Noble
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Also in this series: Guidebook to Murder, Mission to Murder, If the Shoe Kills, Dressed To Kill, Killer Run, Murder on Wheels, Tea Cups and Carnage, Hospitality and Homicide, Killer Party, Rockets' Dead Glare, Santa Puppy
Also by this author: Guidebook to Murder, Mission to Murder, If the Shoe Kills, Dressed To Kill, Killer Run, Murder on Wheels, Tea Cups and Carnage, A Story to Kill, Hospitality and Homicide, Killer Party, Of Murder and Men, Rockets' Dead Glare, Santa Puppy
It’s October in South Cove, California, and the locals in the quaint resort seem to be happily pairing off in the lull before the holidays. Everyone, that is, except for Jill Gardner’s elderly aunt, who just dumped her besotted fiancé—and she won’t say why.
When Jill hosts a talk at Coffee, Books, and More on the topic of elder abuse, all that’s really on her mind is lunch. But the topic hits close to home when she discovers Aunt Jackie has been getting mysterious calls. Jill’s certain the caller is a con artist, of course, but her feisty aunt claims to understand this, though she’s still shaken—and Harrold’s still heartbroken. Who’s behind the scam and why was her aunt targeted? When a volunteer from the Senior Project is found murdered, Jill’s detective boyfriend is on the case—and it soon becomes clear no one is safe when a caller from beyond becomes a killer in their midst.
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.
Memories and Murder
A buddy read discussion with Stormi and Lark
I buddy-read Memories and Murder with Stormi of Books, Movies, Reviews! Oh My! Here’s our conversation about the book. NOTE: While we edited the chat to minimize plot spoilers, there are some relationship spoilers for people who have not yet reached this point in the series.
My solo review follows the chat.
STORMI: I really liked Memories and Murder! I always enjoy books from this series. 🙂
LARK: I finished it [Wednesday] night! I enjoyed it, too. One of the things I really like is how the relationships [in this series] progress at a normal rate, neither too quickly nor too slowly. I’m thinking particularly about Jill and Greg, but also Jackie and Harrold, and Amy and what’s-his-name. (His name slips my mind.) I mean, Jill is cautious (and who wouldn’t be, after discovering her first husband was having an affair), but she and Greg are moving forward as a couple at a pace that works for them.
I get so frustrated with mystery series that keep the main character in relationship limbo for six or ten books in a row: “Will they or won’t they get together?” I’m so glad Ms. Cahoon doesn’t pull that kind of thing on her readers. There are plenty of ways to keep the narrative tension up while keeping the main character involved in a stable, evolving relationship.
STORMI: Me too! I hate that “will-they-won’t-they” or throwing in another guy for a couple books.
I really love Jackie and Harrold; they are so cute! I also like the new guy [in the bookshop], Deke.
LARK: I like Deke, too. He fits into the Coffee Books and More “family” very well, and I love how he stepped up when Jill had to throw that creepy campaign manager out of the store.
STORMI: Yeah, he was great, and I liked how Greg teased him.
LARK: Yes, I thought that was cute, too.
STORMI: Did you guess the killer? I had it pegged but it took most of the book. 😁
LARK: I was about to ask you the same thing! I suspected the person briefly when we first met them, but then I settled on someone else as more likely. [spoilers removed] The real killer came off as very likeable and personable. I didn’t really suspect them seriously until very close to the reveal.
Did you ever believe Uncle Ted might actually be still around, or did you think it was a con?
STORMI: I hoped it was a con because I like Harrold, but I wasn’t real sure from the very beginning.
LARK: I wasn’t sure at first, either. Like you, I hoped it was a con, because I didn’t want Harrold’s heart to be broken. I like the two of them (Jackie and Harrold) together, too.
STORMI: The next [book] is about Amy’s wedding and I can’t wait for it to come out! Maybe it will push Jill and Greg closer to the altar LOL.
LARK: I have a feeling you may be right — but at the same time, Jill doesn’t like to feel pushed when it comes to relationships. So I hope she’s ready. After this book, I think she’s a lot closer than she was!
STORMI: [changing subject] I was as shocked as Jill that Harrold and Josh were friendly! That took me by surprise LOL.
LARK: Oh, me too! I even had a moment of wondering if Josh had engineered the Uncle Ted thing as a way to split Jackie and Harrold up. But I guess Josh is getting over her.
STORMI: I thought maybe he found himself a woman since it mentioned he loss some weight 😁
LARK: Josh? Maybe. Who could the author pair him with? Lille? Carrie? … Esmeralda?!
STORMI: Maybe a new lady 😁
LARK: Could be! That’s the fun of these small-town cozy mysteries. You get invested in the whole town, and the relationships between the characters. I loved how Cahoon paired up Sadie and Preacher Bill in this one.
STORMI: Yes! They were so cute!
I think that has to be the hard thing with cozies, keeping track of everyone and making it all stay cohesive and continue to make you want to know more about everyone and not just the MCs.
LARK: I think that Lynn Cahoon does a good job of balancing the mystery and the town saga aspects of the story.
STORMI: I think she does too! She is one of my favorites. [The series is] the first cozy I ever listened to, and the narrator is great, and so I have to listen to each one LOL.
LARK: I haven’t ever tried this series on audio. My library doesn’t carry the audio, and I always seem to get approved for the e-ARC, so I just read them. They’re nice and quick, good for when I just want something light.
That’s the good thing about cozies as they are such quick fun reads!
LARK: [changing subject] What do you think about Esmeralda, and about Deke’s mom? First, it sounds like they might have [some past in common.] But I get the sense that both of them — and maybe Deke, too — really do have some actual psychic gifts or intuition, even if Jill doesn’t believe in it.
STORMI: I like Esmeralda, and it did seem like Deke could see things, even if I am a skeptic like Jill. 😁
LARK: I know that a lot of so-called psychics are faking it. But I have had a few uncanny experiences in my own life, and I have known a couple of people who definitely have a gift of one kind or another. So I’m more open than skeptical about the possibilities, even in real life.
STORMI: I am one of those who needs to see it in action before believing like ghosts LOL. I need to see one first 😁.
LARK: Well… I heard ghosts once, or at least, I heard something from the past. I was alone in my in-laws’ house, and I heard 1920s-style music and happy laughter coming faintly from downstairs. I went down, thinking my in-laws had come home and turned on the TV or radio, but there was no one home, and no TV or radio on anywhere. And [there were] no other houses near enough to hear. I can’t come up with any “normal” explanation for what I heard… but I definitely heard it. Apparently one or two other people had experiences in the house, too.
STORMI: I spent the night in a ‘haunted hotel’ but nothing happened — slept like a log LOL!
STORMI: [changing subject] Anything more to add to our talk? I can’t think of anything.
LARK: No, me either. Except that I also appreciate that this book highlighted the dangers that seniors (especially) can face from scammers.
STORMI: Oh yes, it was very realistic!
LARK: It’s really tough for older folks who don’t always understand the way that modern tech works. My mom and stepdad are savvy about scams, but my first dad is more trusting and less knowledgeable, and I worry he will get caught by one of these things.
STORMI: Yeah, my dad is not tech-savvy at all! 😐
LARK: I recently read about an organization in Albuquerque that pairs seniors with tech-savvy teens, to teach the seniors how to use their smartphones and so on. It ends up benefitting both the seniors and the teens.
STORMI: Oh thats cool!
LARK: [changing subject] I’ve got to go fix dinner. But it’s been great to chat about books! Thanks for buddy-reading with me.
STORMI: It was lots of fun chatting with you! Thanks for buddying with me as well.
Stormi rated the book 4.5 stars. You can find her review here.
As I mentioned in my chat with Stormi, there are some things I really love about this series, and all of them were on display in Memories and Murder. I love that the books are light and quick and fun, but the puzzle is interesting and the crimes are believable. I like the realistic evolution of the characters’ relationships, and how much I’ve become acquainted with and invested in some of the secondary characters.. That’s particularly true of Aunt Jackie, and this book revolves around her in a way that none of the previous books have, at least to this extent.
And of course, I enjoy the main character(s): Jill with her mind that just can’t stop trying to figure things out, and Greg with his devotion to justice and Jill. I love the way Greg tries to keep Jill from investigating, and she tries to comply… but she can’t remain uninvolved, and he knows that and doesn’t hold it against her. This is a series where the relationship between the amateur (Jill) and the professional (Greg, a policeman) really works, in a way that it doesn’t in some cozy mystery series.
There are two simultaneous mysteries in this novel: What’s up with the calls Aunt Jackie is getting from someone who claims to be her deceased husband? And who killed the computer expert affiliated with a local organization that tries to help seniors protect themselves from financial fraud and abuse? (And a third question: Is there any connection between the two mysteries?) Jill tries to focus on Aunt Jackie’s woes while Greg works on the murder, but inevitably they end up helping each other out.
I hope Ms. Cahoon intends to go on writing this series, because I want more of these characters and the town and denizens of South Cove.
Read for the COYER with Friends Buddy Readathon, and for the 2020 POPSugar Reading Challenge, prompt #34: a book you meant to read in 2019.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- COYER with Friends (Winter 2019-2020)
- POPSUGAR Reading Challenge 2020