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Death on the Half Shell by Donna Walo Clancy

Title: Death on the Half Shell (A Shipwreck Café Mystery #3)

Author: Donna Walo Clancy

Published on: 21st July 2020

Genre: Cozy Mystery

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Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Death on the Half Shell is the third book in Donna Walo Clancy’s The Shipwreck Café Mysteries. The series features a lawyer-turned-café-owner Jay and a ghost named Roland.

It’s the dead of winter on Anchor Point and most of the businesses are closed for off season. The Shipwreck Cafe is closed from Monday through Wednesday and Jay uses the extra days to prep for the opening of The Tunnel of Ships Museum. A party of St Patrick’s Day is planned and many have RSVP’d to the event. The party is in full motion and things go horribly sideways when the guests start acting weird and one of them falls dead. To add to the tension, Jay’s younger brother Robbie’s gone missing from the party.

I binge read the first two books of this series two years ago. Death on the Half Shell was released in July last year but I couldn’t get to reading it then. 2021 seems to be my year of catching up on the books in my TBR list. I took some time to remember who’s who. Roland is the ghost who looks after the stolen treasure. He shimmers into the café often, shocking the customers. Martha, Jay’s mother, and Robbie, Jay’s younger brother, help him in the café. Susan is the head chef and Jay’s love-interest.

In the previous book, Jay discovers a hidden tunnel and finds a gold coin and an emerald necklace in the rubble. He decides to convert the tunnel into a museum and keep a replica of the necklace as a center of attraction at the museum. Death on the Half Shell starts with Jay making plans for the appraisal of the necklace. The local jeweler Phil Cook asks Jay if he could attend the appraisal and Jay agrees. But at the St Patrick’s party, Phil drops dead. Robbie goes missing. Several days later, Jay receives a note from Robbie’s ‘kidnappers’; they want the necklace as ransom.

The story revolves around Robbie and Jay trying to identify the mystery man who’s lurking around his house. Many join in the search – including Robbie’s new girlfriend and her cop-brother. I loved the sub-plots – from Jay’s love life to Robbie helping the homeless and Jay’s quest for the sunken treasure.

The only niggle-ish I had with this story are the typos. I overlooked them as the storytelling and the ending were really impressive. I loved the character development. Roland seems to be comfy being around people now. Jay realizes what’s stopping him from making a commitment in a relationship – some progress here when it comes to Jay’s love life.

The ending was surprising and I never saw it coming. The identity of the killer was unexpected and shocking. I completely enjoyed reading this book and I am looking forward to knowing what’s next for Jay. Will he finally find the missing treasure?

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