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Once Upon a Seaside Murder by Maggie Blackburn

Title: Once Upon a Seaside Murder (A Beach Reads Mystery #2)

Author: Maggie Blackburn

Published on: 12th October 2021

Genre: Cozy Mystery

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

Summer Merriweather has her hands full managing her late mother Hildy’s bookstore – Beach Reads in Brigid’s Island, NC. Summer and the book club members are geared up for a book event featuring a famous cozy mystery author Mimi. Mimi’s latest book is based on a murder that created shock waves in Brigid’s Island three decades ago.

Summer learns her mother was interested in the case and had stored newspaper clippings of the proceedings. But, the murder case was never solved. Mimi is threatened but she doesn’t want to be bogged down by it. The book event goes as planned but the next day, Mimi goes missing…

Once upon a Seaside Murder is the second book in Maggie Blackburn’s A Beach Reads Mystery. I had enjoyed reading the first book and was eagerly waiting (for almost an year) to see what’s next for Summer Merriweather.

The previous book ended with Summer finding out the true identity of her biological father – he was a Bellamy, one of the richest people living in Brigid’s Island. Summer briefly got in touch with her half-siblings Sam and Fatima before they went on a trip to Paris. Sam gave her a box full of memorabilia – photos of Hildy with Omar(their father) but Summer does not want to have a look at it right now. She’s still coming to terms with her mother’s untimely death – Hildy was murdered.

Summer has taken a sabbatical from her job as a professor and is managing Beach Reads until she finds a seller – or at least, that was the plan until she fell in love with the place. She also has her cousins at Brigid’s Island – and of course, her new-found ‘extended’ biological family.

When Summer learns her mother’s interest in the cold case, she wants to know why. The victim was a maid at the Bellamy castle and the rumors suggested one of the Bellamys killed the maid. But why? Ben Singer (Chief) was then a rookie and had handled the case – but with no further clues or evidence, the case couldn’t be solved.

Summer is threatened by the perp – the box of photos that Sam gave her are stolen. Mimi, who stayed with Summer during the event, goes missing. As the story proceeds, we see the perp trying to hurt Summer in every possible way. But why? Did Summer accidentally uncover something that can close the cold case and bring the killer to justice?

Maggie Blackburn is a master storyteller. The one thing I like the most about this series is our main character – Summer Merriweather. Summer is someone you would love to hate… or is, hate to love? Either way, she’s stubborn, a tad egotistical and not very likeable. But that is what makes the story (and the series) unique. I really love experimenting my reads and A Beach Reads Mystery series is a cozy series I would definitely follow till the end.

The mystery behind the cold case, Mimi’s disappearance and Summer being threatened kept me guessing till the end. Speaking of which, I couldn’t identify the perp nor their reason for trying to create havoc three decades later! Nor did I see the twist coming!

Once Upon a Seaside Murder by Maggie Blackburn is a unique, interesting and completely engrossing cozy mystery. If you are looking for a cozy Christmas read, I definitely recommend this book.


I received an ARC from Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.

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