Survival Can Be Deadly: A Discount Detective Mystery
Cozy Mystery by Charlotte Stuart
1st in Series
Published September 10, 2019 by Walrus Publishing (An imprint of Amphorae Publishing Group)
Paperback: 308 pages
Synopsis: When single mom and recent widow Cameron Chandler takes a much-needed job at Penny-wise Investigations, a detective agency conveniently located in a suburban shopping mall, she grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Her first case is to locate a runaway girl, something her predecessor had been pursuing before he disappeared. Following in his footsteps, the trail leads to a survivalist camp on a remote island in northern Puget Sound. Armed with only a Swiss Army Knife and her quirky on-the-job training as a suburban sleuth, Cameron uncovers more than she bargained for. She soon finds herself in a fight for her own survival in this lighthearted mystery set in Seattle and the San Juan Islands to the north.
Cameron Chandler is a widow with a PhD but no job to go with it. She has two children that she is trying to raise, with her mother living upstairs that is constantly interfering with her life. Cameron needs to find a job, not a husband, which is what her mother thinks she needs to do. While at the mall, she stumbles upon a help wanted sign. The mall detective agency is looking for a new investigator. She has not experience, but she is smart and needs a job. P.W. the head of Penny Wise Detective Agency hires her and within days she has her first case. With the help of Yuri, another investigator, she is out to find a missing teen and perhaps find their missing agent in the process.
I really enjoyed this story. Cameron was a bold, smart, sassy, brassy woman who would do anything to make a living to support her children. Looking for the runaway puts her in danger, but she manages to escape with the help of Yuri and another man. Her mother was a hoot. She had a one track mind, to get her daughter married, and she was not subtle. I hope to see more of Charlotte’s children in future books, as we didn’t get to know much about them in this book. The mystery itself was quite interesting. They went from a teenage runaway, to a survivalist camp to some scamming of innocent victims who just want to be safe in case of the end of the world. I thought I had a lot figured out, but the ending threw in a twist that was a bit surprising. There was also quite a bit of tongue in cheek humour that I also enjoyed. The only thing I was a bit unprepared for was the quick interactions between Cameron and some of the male characters. It was nothing over the top, but still a bit surprising to this reader. Even with this one complaint, I will definitely watch for more by this author. A great debut to this cozy mystery series. I received a copy of this book from Great Escapes Book Tours upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
About the Author: In a world filled with uncertainty and too little chocolate, Charlotte Stuart, PhD, has taught college courses in communication, gone commercial fishing in Alaska, and was the VP of HR and Training for a large credit union. Her current passion is for writing lighthearted mysteries with a pinch of adventure and a dollop of humor. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys watching herons, eagles, seals and other sea life from her Vashon Island home office.