Sunday, October 4, 2009

Margerita Nights-Phylss Smallman

Margerita Nights
Phylss Smallman
MacArthur & Company, 2008
ISBN: 9781552786994

In Jacaronda, Florida Sherri Travis works as a bartender at the Sunset. She has left her husband, Jimmy, the golf pro at the nearby country club as she is tired of his scams. When his ship the Suncoaster explodes, the lead cop Stiles believes Jimmy died on board and Sherri killed him to collect life insurance.

Sherri believes Jimmy is alive pulling another scam. She tries to find their mutual friend bi-polar Andy who may know what is going on especially after someone stole a video Jimmy left her that apparently includes what he was up to. As her arrest seems imminent and her upper crust in-laws hold her culpable, Sherri with the help of friends (especially Marley) investigates her late spouse’s recent dealings, but soon Andy is killed too, but not before he refers to Casablanca.

This terrific cozy serves Long Island tea as Sherri goes from sarcastic doubter to griever (for both Jimmy and Andy) to lover to killer pursuer. She makes the tale fun with her sass, spunk and spitfire sleuthing. The support cast is super also as the island community in the mind of Jimmy’s mom is divided into three groups: the rich, the servant class from the other side of the causeway and the trailer trash. Phyliss Smallman provides an entertaining Florida west coast amateur sleuth with a touch of romance.

Harriet Klausner