Review of Gators and Garters by Jana DeLeon

‘Til death do us part?

Ida Belle, Fortune, and Gertie are gearing up for the big day—Ida Belle’s wedding to Walter—but when the caterer goes missing just a week before the big day, it puts a huge black mark on the joyous celebration. Molly Broussard is no stranger to being in the limelight, so when the former cage fighter turned in her boxing gloves for pots and pans, everyone who knew her was surprised…until they ate her food.

From all appearances, Molly took her boat out that day and simply never returned. An extensive search of the bayous finally produces the boat, but there is no sign of Molly. With no evidence of foul play, Sinful residents are ready to conclude that this is simply another tragic and all-too-common accident. 

Nickel Bordelon spent half of his time in trouble and the other half paying for it. But one thing he knows for certain—Molly was murdered. When he asks Fortune to take the case, she isn’t sure there’s anything to find, but his emotional plea has her agreeing to look into it. As Swamp Team 3 begin their investigation, they find more layers to Molly’s disappearance than in Ida Belle’s wedding cake.

Available on Amazon.

Welcome back to Sinful, my favourite cozy mystery setting that I’d never want to visit! Seriously, as hilarious as things get in Sinful, I have no desire to meet the gators and giant mosquitos of the bayou, nor do I want to spend time with any of the zany villagers. However, I do enjoy reading about all their antics.

The mystery this time around is who killed Molly, a larger than life caterer. I think this was one of the better mysteries in the series recently. I loved it. There are two main possible culprits and more than one possible murder. The cases and clues overlap and take us round and round in a most enjoyable way. I enjoyed meeting the suspects and some of the interviewees along the way. Each character adds more information to the case and leaves the reader guessing true motives and opportunities. The big reveal is parts hilarious, sad and intriguing- a perfect mix.

In terms of characters, I once again rolled my eyes at the pages and pages of Fortune trying to rationalise her hard-headed ways as just being independent. Gotta bold-facedly lie to her boyfriend and make his job / life difficult? It’s okay because her curiosity and her need for justice outweigh his need to get the job done properly. The attitude gets more overdone and repetitive with each new instalment. However, there are little areas of growth that make up for it.

Perhaps my favourite of all the scenes was towards the end where Ida Belle and Walter’s wedding happens. I loved the fact that despite everything, Ida Belle is a classy lady who knows just how to push her best friend’s buttons yet retain her infamous Southern dignity.

“You were six years old,” Gertie said. “And pulling a gun on your mother over an Easter dress is the reason the South gets a bad name.”

“The reason?” I asked.

“Well, one of them,” Gertie said. “It’s still the best place in the world but I will admit to a few quirks.”

As much as parts of this series frustrate me at times, I can’t deny I do enjoy the world created and I love reading some of the wickedly funny dialogues. Where else can you find a semi-tame alligator and a cross-dressing-peeping-tom neighbour in the same story?! Oh, and did I forget to mention the Catholic-Mafia parrot? You have to read it to get it!

I give Gators and Garters 4/5 Sinful espresso shots.

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