Title: West Side Murder (Musical Murder Mystery #2)
Author: K.L. Montgomery
Published on: 12 May 2022
Genre: Cozy Mystery
West Side Murder is the second book in K.L. Montgomery’s Musical Murder Mystery series.
Ruby and her theater troupe. The Melody Street Players are in Fort Myers, Florida to perform West Side Story at a local theater. Since Ruby’s grandparents live in West Vista Del Boca, she arrived at Fort Myers early.
Nova and Ruby hear a couple of retirees discussing the murder/natural death that occurred on the premises a decade ago. A retiree and resident of Vista Del Boca, Bob, was found dead on the golf course. Though the police termed his death as heart attack/natural causes, a couple of residents aren’t sure if it was a natural death. After all, Bob had a affair with one of the candidates of the council election. So, it is quite possible that either his wife or his lover’s husband killed him in a fit of rage.
Nova and Ruby involve themselves in the mystery surrounding Bob’s death. They want to bring the killer of justice.
I had read the first book of this series a couple of months ago and I was quite impressed with the series-plot. West Side Murder turned out to be an engrossing and completely entertaining cozy mystery. I cannot choose a favorite part (of the story here) – we have a decade-old unsolved murder mystery, Ruby’s grandparents’ bickering match, a tiff between Tina and Ruby (Tina claims Ruby is leaving threatening notes in her handbag) and a possible love-story-in-the-making between Ruby and Rudy.
There was an oopsie moment when Nova and Ruby attend the senior prom event (prom for senior citizens) and gossip about Rob’s death. Turns out, one of the ladies to whom they spoke was Rob’s widow! Oops! Ruby and Nova visit Susan the next day to apologize. Susan says she’s not convinced her husband died of natural causes and could be glad if Ruby and Nova could poke around and find some evidence that leads to his killer.
Meanwhile, there is simmering tension between the Golfers and Palmers. Vista Del Boca is divided into two – the palm side and the golf side. Both sides are not allowed to mingle with the other. No friendships or romantic relationships. Why? The first time someone tried to have a romantic relationship with a Palmer, they were found dead on the golf course.
I also loved the mystery surrounding the threatening notes that Tina (the main actress) received. They were signed with Ruby’s initials. Ruby is innocent and someone is trying to frame her, but Tina doesn’t believe her. This causes a bit of complication in the second half of the story.
Ruby and Nova make quite a sleuthing pair. Speaking of pairs, Rudy – Ruby’s possible love interest – seems to be keen on Ruby. But Ruby has had her share of broken relationships so she’s a bit worried about her relationship with Rudy. I also enjoyed the bickering between Ruby’s grandparents. Ruby says their bickering is similar to Seinfeld’s Costanzas’ (George’s parents). But if you ask me, I would say they were more like Jerry’s parents – maybe something to do with the fact that they lived in Del Boca Vista. (At least that is how they seemed to look like in my mind.)
Excellent storytelling and the mystery kept me guessing till the end. The identity of the killer was unexpected. The twist at the end of the story was mind-blowing. Fantastic character portrayal.
If you love music and are a fan of cozy mysteries, you might want to give K.L. Montgomery’s West Side Murder a try. Highly recommended!