Half shellby Shawn Reilly Simmons

Henery Press

4.5 Stars

Publisher: Filming a movie on a sunny Florida beach may seem like working in paradise, but dealing with the brutal heat, a difficult director and a leading lady with a serious aversion to seafood makes for a challenging task for Penelope Sutherland and her Red Carpet Catering crew. After two girls go missing during a raucous beach party thrown by the movie’s director, the cast and crew fall out of favor with the Andrea Island locals.

When a flashy celebrity chef is accused of the crime, Penelope Sutherland steps in to help her former culinary school instructor find the truth. Surrounded by suspicious locals with a history all their own, Penelope uncovers clues from the past that reveal an undercurrent of evil amid the magnificent sandy beaches.

My Review: This is the second book in the Red Carpet Catering Mysteries and it was as enjoyable as the first. In this adventure, Penelope Sutherland, the owner of Red Carpet Catering is working a movie set on an island off the coast of Florida. Once again, her best friend Arlena is starring in the film.

It starts off with an ordinary movie being filmed on a small touristy island with the usual bossy, selfish movie director. Pen has hired some local teens to help with the serving. When the week of filming is finished, there is a huge beach party that the whole cast and crew are invited to. With lots of food and alcohol, there is of course, some underage drinking. When the two teenage girls do not answer their phones the next day or turn up where they should be the police are called in. Where did they disappear to? Are they on the mainland? Did the “chef” Emilio with the questionable past have anything to do with their disappearance?

Once again Penelope is drawn into an investigation. Her boyfriend, Joey, the detective from New Jersey just happens to show up on the island for a vacation. He helps Penelope gather information but does not interfere with the local police. There are a lot of interesting residents on the island from Jeanne, the local innkeeper to Rose who rents out cabins and owns the local gift shop. There are some rather humorous drunks who sit along the dock and other young people who add to the intrigue of the story. I loved the way the story developed with just the right amount of red herrings to get you thinking in the wrong direction. The emotions of the parents were real and tough to read about. Overall a great story that I would recommend to all mystery lovers.