Sunday, July 30, 2023

Mommy and Daddy's Day with Murder in Myrtle Bay by Isobel Blackthorn

Every now and then, I replace my usual kidlit posts with a read for all those moms and dads out there (or adults, in general). After all, they like to read to. These books do not have any content, which isn't appropriate for YA audiences. In other words, you don't have to hide these under the bed and hope they aren't discovered. Today's read proves this with this trigger warning:  "like the packet of peanuts that may contain nuts, this book may contain a murder…"  And that's it!

So off we go to dive into a murder mystery...and I'm really hoping there will be cute characters with some very quirky traits. But we'll have to wait and see.

Ruth Finlay Mysteries, Book 1
by Isobel Blackthorn
Cozy Mystery
286 pages

When feature writer Ruth Finlay and her elderly neighbor Doris Cleaver visit an antique and collectibles market in the small town of Myrtle Bay, they get a lot more than they bargained for.

After Ruth’s old tennis coach is found dead, they discover that there’s no lack of people who harbor a grudge against the victim, and a tangled web of family ties and lies begins to unravel. But can Ruth and Doris find the killer in time to avert a second murder?

A quirky feel-good mystery laced with intrigue, Murder in Myrtle Bay is the first book in Isobel Blackthorn’s ‘Ruth Finlay Mysteries’ series. Set in small town Australia, it is a sure pick for any fan of classic whodunits and cozy mysteries!



Enjoyable characters, good food, and more than a little town gossip make this an intriguing murder mystery in so many ways.

Ruth accompanies her neighbor and friend, Doris, to the market not only to work on her next article but to pick up a simple lid. The simple task launches into an unexpected direction as Doris stumbles across a dying who happens to be Ruth's ex-tennis teacher. The lack of visitors to the market keeps the suspect list to a minimum, but that doesn't mean the case will be easily solved. Instead, Ruth and Doris run across more family and small town secrets than they could have imagined.

Doris and Ruth make an unusual and fun duo. Doris is Ruth's neighbor, several years older than her, and packs personality. From inviting herself to coffee on a whim to a colorful fashion sense, her sudden ideas promise more than a few surprises. She's the fun to Ruth's more serious life of balancing a job with cooking for her father in the nursing home and more. It's entertaining to follow them and inspiring to witness their friendship. Plus, they make a great detective pair.

The mystery itself is well laid. While the suspect list seems to be small in the beginning, the weave of secrets, gossip and more soon expose a complex web. It's not clear who the murder is. The tale runs along at a steady pace, allowing the personalities of the characters to gain depth while adding humor here and there. Then, there's the vivid descriptions of delicious foods, which entice and invite in. 

It's an enjoyable read and I can't wait to see what Ruth and Doris will be up to next.

And here she is...

Isobel Blackthorn is an award-winning author of unique and engaging fiction. She writes gripping mysteries, historical fiction and dark psychological thrillers. Her Canary Islands collection begins with The Drago Tree and includes A Matter of Latitude, Clarissa’s Warning and A Prison in the Sun. Her interest in the occult is explored in The Unlikely Occultist: A biographical novel of Alice A. Bailey and the dark mystery A Perfect Square.

Her dark thriller The Cabin Sessions was nominated for the Bram Stoker Award 2018 and the Ditmar Awards 2018. Isobel’s  biographical short story ‘Nothing to Declare’ which forms the first chapter of Emma’s Tapestry was shortlisted for the Ada Cambridge Prose Prize 2019.  A Prison in the Sun was shortlisted in the LGBTQ category of the Readers’ Favorite Book Awards 2020 and the International Book Awards 2021. And The Unlikely Occultist: A biographical novel of Alice A. Bailey received an Honorable Mention in the 2021 Reader’s Favorite Book Awards.

Isobel writes non fiction too. She is the author of the world’s only biography of Theosophist and mother of the New Age movement Alice Bailey – Alice A. Bailey: Life & Legacy.

Isobel’s first work, which she wrote in 2008, is Voltaire’s Garden. This memoir is set in the mid 2000s and tells the story of building a sustainable lifestyle B&B in Cobargo on the south coast of New South Wales, Australia, which gained international attention when a firestorm razed the idyllic historic village on New Year’s Eve 2019.

Isobel’s writing appears in journals and websites around the world, including Esoteric Quarterly, New Dawn Magazine, Paranoia, Mused Literary Review, Trip Fiction, Backhand Stories, Fictive Dream and On Line Opinion. Isobel was a judge for the Shadow Awards 2020 long fiction category. Her book reviews have appeared in New Dawn Magazine, Esoteric Quarterly, Shiny New Books, Sisters in Crime, Australian Women Writers, Trip Fiction and Newtown Review of Books.

Isobel’s interests are many and varied. She has a long-standing association with the Canary Islands, having lived in Lanzarote in the late 1980s. A humanitarian and campaigner for social justice, in 1999 Isobel founded the internationally acclaimed Ghana Link, uniting two high schools, one a relatively privileged state school located in the heart of England, the other a materially impoverished school in a remote part of the Upper Volta region of Ghana, West Africa.

Isobel has a background in Western Esotericism. She holds 1st Class Honours in Social Studies, and a PhD from the University of Western Sydney for her ground-breaking research on the works of Alice A. Bailey. After working as a teacher, market trader and PA to a literary agent, she arrived at writing in her forties, and her stories are as diverse and intriguing as her life has been.

Isobel has performed her literary works at events in a range of settings and given workshops in creative writing.

British by birth, Isobel entered this world in Farnborough, Kent, She has lived in England, Australia, Spain and the Canary Islands.



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1 comment:

Isobel Blackthorn said...

Many thanks for your thoughtful review! Much appreciated.