Murder in Myrtle Bay by Isobel Blackthorn

It’s my stop today on the blog tour for Murder in Myrtle Bay by Isobel Blackthorn. Many thanks to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for giving me an opportunity to be a part of this blog tour.

Title: Murder in Myrtle Bay (Ruth Finlay Mysteries #1)

Author: Isobel Blackthorn

Published on: 4 July 2022

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Buy on Amazon

Rating: 5 out of 5.

When feature writer Ruth Finlay and her elderly neighbor Doris Cleaver visit an antique and collectibles market in the small town of Myrtle Bay, they get a lot more than they bargained for.

After Ruth’s old tennis coach is found dead, they discover that there’s no lack of people who harbor a grudge against the victim, and a tangled web of family ties and lies begins to unravel. But can Ruth and Doris find the killer in time to avert a second murder?

Murder in Myrtle Bay is the first book in Isobel Blackthorn’s Ruth Finlay Mystery series.

What an excellent cozy series debut. I absolutely enjoyed reading every bit of this story. Though a first in the series, there is equal importance given to murder mystery, character introduction and scene setting (i.e. series setting). I am not new to Isobel’s writing and I would go a step ahead and I say I an a fan of her storytelling. I have read Isobel’s fictional as well as non-fictional works and she’s one of the brilliant authors out there.


The story begins with Doris, Ruth’s elderly neighbor, fussing about a Tupperware lid. They are the old factory building that is now converted to a marketplace. Doris is aware of a store that sells Tupperware and wants to get there before someone else buys the probably-last-lid-in-the-world. Doris is right in making a fuss about it, innit? We all have lost a Tupperware lid or two and we do sympathize with Doris for her FOMO.

When the duo finally reach the place, there is an antique store close by. When Ruth walks in to have a look, Doris calls for her. When Ruth goes to where Doris is standing, she learns why Doris called her – a man is lying on the ground, with his head bashed in. He’s barely alive. Doris goes in search for help while Ruth stays behind. The man says “I didn’t do it” before succumbing to his injuries.

The victim is David, Ruth’s old tennis coach. As Ruth and Doris start to investigate… wait, did I miss something? Oh yes, Ruth and Doris find themselves involved in the murder case – they were the first ones to find the victim, you see. One must also consider the family dynamics and hush-hush, juicy gossip that prevails in small towns. So, why wouldn’t Doris and Ruth want to poke their nose where it does not belong.

How difficult can it be to question suspects? Or, even come up with a list of suspects? As the duo start to investigate, they dig deeper into the townspeople’s past lives. Extra marital affairs, lost love, broken hearts and much more, the duo have their hands full filtering through the suspect list.

No cozy mystery is complete without a mention or two (or many) of mouth-watering dishes. Ruth is an excellent cook. Her dad lives at a retirement home and prefers his daughter’s cooking over the ‘muck’ that the home provides for its residents. Rhubard crumble, apple pie, tarts, goodness! There were times when I wished I was Doris so that I could get a serving or two of Ruth’s mouth-watering dishes.

The mystery behind the murder kept me guessing till the end. Suspects were plenty and so were red herrings. So do yourself a favor and give your detective hat a rest. Let Ruth and Doris solve the case while you sit back and enjoy a piece of pie.

The events that finally lead to Ruth and Doris coming face-to-face with the killer was no less than a nail-biting scene. Speaking of killer, their identity and the reason for murder was a huge shocker. Unexpected.

I am looking forward to reading more of Ruth Finlay’s sleuthing adventures. If you are looking for an engrossing and completely entertaining cozy mystery, I highly recommend you to give Murder in Myrtle Bay by Isobel Blackthorn a try.

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