Summertime and the living is easy. You think so? Not if you ask Jill Gardner owner of Coffee, Books, and More (CBM) in the little seaside community of South Cove, California. The town is about to start the Summer Beach Blast Party and Jill is busy not only trying to keep her storefront staffed but to also staff her new mobile coffee annex on the beach.
She and her Aunt Jackie, who works with Jill, have scheduled themselves and their employees, Toby, Sasha, and Nick to try to keep all bases covered. Hopefully, with everyone helping out, coffee and book sales at CBM will remain steady and coffee sales at the mobile annex will be thriving with lots of thirsty customers during the beach party. But let’s face it, things are never quite easy in South Cove.
There’s going to be a new store opening called Tea Hee where owner Kathi Corbin plans to sell tea sets, teapots, and other tea accessories to the tourists. Business will be booming at Tea Hee especially with male customers since Kathi is a former beauty queen whose looks have not faded with time.
At about the same time Kathi began living at South Cove the community started to have problems with a motorcycle driver. He’s a big man and roars around town with no regards to anyone. He almost knocked over an elderly woman and then caused an injury to Aunt Jackie. He careened by her causing her to fall and hurt her ankle. Because of this incident Jill finds herself short a store staff member and has to spread herself very thin by working in both the store and the mobile annex at the beach not to mention everything else she needs to do.
Oh, and then there’s that pesky little murder that took place at the local “no tell hotel.” The victim just happens to be Kathi’s cousin who was also in town. And, just to confuse the situation more, Kathi’s sister, Ivy, shows up looking for a job. What is she doing in South Cove? Ivy was supposed to be taking care of their father back home.
Jill has a long “to do” list. She needs to make sure her business does well during the summer, find out who bowled over Jackie, help Jackie’s ex boyfriend, Josh, with his antique business since he’s mysteriously leaving town for a week, and of course Jill has to solve the murder. And there’s that little matter of the missing $3,000 check that was supposed to be deposited in CBM’s bank account but was cashed into a different account. Is one of Jill’s employees stealing from her? Truly, a woman’s work is never done.
I’m always looking forward to reading author Lynn Cahoon’s newest Tourist Trap Mystery novel. With every book I get a chance to visit South Cove, California wishing I really lived there. The town is filled with lively characters and wonderful stores. Oh, to shop there and eat at Lille Ramsey’s diner and then go over to BCM to sample some of Sadie’s newest baked goods creation. The apple cheesecake sounds good to me.
All the usual inhabitants of South Cove are in this seventh installment. Esmeralda, my favorite, is still trying to help everyone with her all too true psychic predictions. Josh, Aunt Jackie’s ex boyfriend, is working at his antiques store pining over the loss of Jackie as his girlfriend. Hunky Greg King, Jill’s boyfriend and South Cove’s detective, keeps reminding Jill to stay out of his investigations, like that will ever happen. And of course there’s Aunt Jackie and her new boyfriend, Harrold who owns the train shop. Everyone, including Jill’s dog, Emma, makes an appearance.
There are a few nice surprises with the characters that I won’t spoil by blabbing about them here. Ms. Cahoon does a great job in making readers feel like all the characters are their family members.
Yes, I like the series. It makes me feel good and isn’t that what a good cozy is supposed to do in the long run?
Pick up a copy of any book in the Tourist Trap Series and enter the friendly South Cove community. Don’t mind the murders, Jill and Greg will keep you safe.