Hippie Haven Homicide by Sally Carpenter

Title: Hippie Haven Homicide (A Psychedelic Spy Book #2)

Author: Sally Carpenter

Published on: 14 June 2020

Genre: Cozy Mystery

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

Get ready to take a trip down the memory lane coz Noelle McNabb is here! The groovy 1960’s saw the rise of SPARK (Spiritually Pure and Radiant Kin) and ISKCON (International Society of Krishna Consciousness). Noelle McNabb, a 25-year-old actress and amateur spy, is up to some spoofy goofy spy business. This time, SIAMESE ( Special Intelligence Apparatus for Midwest Enemy Espionage and Surveillance) wants not only Noelle, but her cat CeeBee to help them catch a low-threat traitor.

Hippie Haven Homicide is the second book in Psychedelic Spy Series by Sally Carpenter. If you like movies like Johnny English and Pink Panther, you will love this series!

Having read the first book in the series – Flower Power Fatality – I was eagerly waiting to see what’s next for Noelle. In the first book, we saw Noelle asking her mum about her Aunt Grizelda. Dash Hanover, the SIAMESE chief, is Aunt Grizelda’s son. Noelle wants to meet her long-lost aunt, will Dash let the two ladies meet?

Noelle and SIAMESE Agent Destiny King join hands once again and solve the mystery. The story starts with a bunch of SPARKS loitering the theme park. The devotees of The Wise One are kind, caring and lovely. Noelle befriends one of the girls from the group – Blossom. Blossom hints that something is wrong. But before Noelle can ask what it is, Blossom is called by her fellow devotees and she runs away. A day later, Noelle finds Blossom dead in the campsite.

I am in awe of Sally Carpenter’s storytelling. A spoofy spy story set in the 1960s, the spy-worthy gadgets – jet packs, cat collars with hidden hearing devices and much more – and some serious sleuthing, Hippie Haven Homicide is a new favourite in the Psychedelic Spy series.

The best part about this series is, the author gives equal preference to character development, a backstory (including Noelle’s attachment to family and fellow townsmen), the secretive spy agency (SIAMESE), a mention or two of the Cold War, and the retro culture (Hippies included).

The SIAMESE agents are not bothered about Blossom’s alleged ‘suicide’. Dash Hanover only wants Noelle’s help to intercept a communication between a low-threat traitor and his dealings. But soon, the SIAMESE agents realize the two cases are connected – thanks to Noelle’s quick thinking.

A few characters we saw in book #1 make an appearance again. We have the hippies Rambler and Moonbaby, Trevor (the local newspaper reporter) and Mamie(the weather girl on the news channel who also happens to be Noelle’s cousin) and of course, the McNabb family (mama, papa and twins). Mamie plays an important role in this story. Trevor and Noelle go around the campsite where the SPARKs have settled down for the week – the duo are not convinced of Blossom’s alleged ‘suicide’.

Noelle is happy to be single while most of her classmates and friends are married. Someone mistakes Noelle and Trevor to be a couple – I am curious to see if the author introduces a little romance between the two in the future books. I definitely think Noelle could do with a dash of romance. Speaking of ‘dash’, Dash Hanover is handsome but the whole cousin thingummy doesn’t make him look like Noelle’s prospective beau.

Noelle might be an amateur but she’s an excellent sleuth. Maybe it’s time the SIAMESE recruit her as a full-time agent! Sally Carpenter is a master storyteller. Be it the character development or the mystery and spy angle, Sally’s stories are simply fantastic. These books are really good for a light read. I think we could all do with some fun reads this (gloomy) year. I highly recommend you to read Hippie Haven Homicide. (Better to read book #1 first so that you get a good idea of the series plot and the characters.)

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