Quick and Easy Entertainment

Death’s a Beach by Beth Sherman
Grade: B

Ghostwriter Anne Hardaway lives in an old house on the Jersey Shore. After a bad storm, the house is in need of some serious repairs. In the flooded basement, her handyman discovers a skeleton buried under the floor. How did the skeleton get there? Is there any chance that her mother, the former owner of the house, was a murderer? Anne has to know. Clues lead her to a nursing home, where the residents are dropping like flies, and Anne has a second mystery to puzzle over. Add to it a persistent suitor, a book to ghostwrite, and a stalker, and she’s got her hands full.

Death’s a Beach seems to be written on the “write what you know” principle. The author is around the same age as her main character, has the same profession, and lives on Long Island, which isn’t too far from New Jersey. As you would expect in such a case, the story is handled competently, but without much inspiration. I thought Anne’s relationship with her boyfriend was a drag, and the outcome predictable from the start. She obsessed over her feelings throughout, in a way I associate with romance novels, and it was annoying.

Part of my judgment of  a book is based on what I expected from it. I bought Death’s a Beach because I thought it might provide some quick and easy entertainment, which it did. I would therefore call it a perfectly readable, but mediocre, mystery novel.  The author has written a slew of these “Jersey Shore Mysteries,” none of them heavily reviewed online, so I have no idea which one might be the best, but I imagine any one of them might be fun to read while vacationing in Jersey. I would not, however, deliberately seek out another book from this series.

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