Summer isn’t the only thing heating up in Blackstone Bay, and Maddie Graves and Nick Winters are struggling to deal with both the weather and another murder. While out for a run with her friend Christy, Maddie stumbles upon a ghost near a local lighthouse. When Nick and Maddie go back to check the scene, they find an abandoned body belonging to a missing mother. While and Maddie and Nick are determined to solve the murder – and put a tortured soul to rest – the rest of the town is focused on something much more important: the senior beauty pageant.
Maude Graves and Harriet Proctor are going head-to-head in Blackstone Bay’s version of a popularity contest, and the town is a virtual shooting gallery as they work against each other to gain allies. Maddie’s attention is diverted by the murdered women’s daughter, a lost soul in her own right, and her grandmother’s constant antics. Between Maude and her new friend – and the danger lurking around every corner trying to stop Maddie from discovering the truth – mayhem is the name of the game.
This is Book 6 in the Maddie Graves Mystery series by Lily Harper Hart.
The Summer heat is driving everyone insane. So crazy, in fact, that Granny Maude and her arch nemesis Harriet are taking their war to the local high school gymnasium for the ultimate showdown- a beauty pageant. While coming to terms with her grandmother’s antics, Maddie must also help the ghost of a murdered mother and her grieving daughter.
Lily Harper Hart writes cozy mysteries that are big on romance. The author very clearly warns her readers that she is a romantic at heart and loves happy endings. I think Nick and Maddie’s relationship is proof of that.
“I love you, Nicky.”
“Maddie, you have no idea how much I love you,” Nick whispered. “You’re my home. You always have been. No more fighting, though. If we do, we’re making up before we separate. “I don’t think either of us can go through this again.”
“That sounds a little co-dependent.”
“Everyone has struggles, Mad,” Nick said. “If being co-dependent means we’re happy, then I can live with it.”
They’re cute and sweet and their love story is the backdrop to the series. Sometimes it can be a little distracting, however, especially when their backstory gets rehashed multiple times in every addition to the series. Good thing it’s a delightful story to tell.
The mystery in this one is interesting, even if not the hardest one to solve. There are two main police suspects and a couple other suspects that are brought in. A couple red herrings are introduced to mix it up; and readers are distracted by the amusing pageant show shenanigans.
Maddie’s personal growth continues in this instalment as she becomes increasingly less self-conscious and is even able to convincing lob some snark back at her own nemesis, Marla. Best friend Christy is also trying new things as she embarks on her own journey of self-development. The only character who is desperately crying out for some help is Nick’s ex-girlfriend, Cassidy. I wish the author could raise the maturity level of this character a little, as I fear she will simply become the overused, parodied ex-girlfriend figure, as opposed to a secondary character that adds to the overall richness of the story.
My favourite part of the story:
Maddie and Nick getting caught while skinny-dipping.
Least favourite part of the story:
Cassidy and Nick’s continued feud.
I really like this series and this sixth book. I suggest you start from the beginning if you want to enjoy it best.
I give 4/5 Espresso Shots for this one.