Death, Island Style by Maggie Toussaint
If you love reading about the seashore, this is a fun cozy about a woman who rediscovers who she is. A stand-alone novel, Death, Island Style features a Christmas shop owner as a sleuth and her sidekick is the cool pharmacist next door.
Praise for Death, Island Style
“An exciting whodunit” – Publishers Weekly
“Toussaint creates a gutsy heroine whose struggles with murder and romance add up to a very enjoyable read” – Kirkus Reviews
“Eccentric and fun, this book is definitely worth a read” – Romantic Times
“A winner on all fronts. Nice regional flair.” – Library Journal
Excerpt from Death, Island Style, Chapter One
I couldn’t explain my sudden unfathomable craving for the itty bitty shells, but I needed these tiny shells as much as I needed air. With increasing fervor, my fingers grabbed clumps of miniature colored shells from the sand and tossed them in my pail. It was as though I was in a timed contest, and I only got to keep as many shells as I could cram into my hot-pink pail in the next ten minutes.
Stupid, I know, but so was trying to start fresh when I’d lost myself along the way. I’d gone from functioning as a devoted wife and competent receptionist to a berserk seashell-grabber. What was I going to do?
I had no family.
I had no roots.
All I had was a yellowed piece of paper that said I was adopted. How the hell was I supposed to deal with that? My whole life was a lie.
My throat tightened. I sat down and allowed the shells and dry sand to drizzle through my curled fingers. How could I figure out who I was? My past was a jumble of secrets, my lonely future too dismal to contemplate.
I touched my gold heart-shaped locket, a treasured gift from Bernie on our first anniversary. Engraved inside were the words, “All my love forever.” Hollow words for a hollow life. I’m supposed to grieve and go on with my life, but the little kid in me wanted to stand up and shout, What happened to my Happily Ever After?
That sappy fairy tale sentiment wasn’t real. It was fiction, and I’d best realize that MaryBeth Cashour was a ghost of a person.
The offshore wind whipped my hair under my glasses. I flicked the tangled locks away from my eyes and stared out at the sea buoys on the watery horizon. Sea gulls lazily rode on currents of air above the cresting surf. I huffed out my disgust at their freewheeling lifestyle. Oh, to be so unencumbered. To let go and glide on the wind. If only I could be so free, so uninhibited.
After all the changes of late, I couldn’t fathom living like that. I needed to know what was coming next. I needed structure and anchors to keep me grounded.
The tides were regular. I’d learned that in a few short weeks. Natives of McLinn County, Georgia, set their watches by tidal fluxes. High water meant big waves, depth in the winding creeks, and delightful onshore breezes. Low water meant lots of beach sand, fish and crabs that could be caught moving with the tide, and offshore breezes. And nasty, biting flies.
I smacked one that was stupid enough to land on my ankle. Take that you bloodsucking varmint. I buried the insect carcass in the dry sand. My gaze drifted back to the hopeful blue sky above the cresting waves and noticed those sea gulls were still wheeling over the same part of the sea as before, just off the beach. That was unusual.
I caught sight of a dark shadow in the water. Something was out there beyond the breakers. Something big. Like a dolphin or a shark. Only it wasn’t swimming. It was drifting with the current.
Curiosity had me rising to my feet. I brushed the sand and crushed shells from my Bermuda shorts and cupped my hands around my glasses. The dark shape appeared to be quite long, maybe six feet long was my guess. And it was definitely cylindrical, like a log.
The object approached the shore. It bobbed in the surf, slowly rolling over, a dark back, a light underbelly. That’s when it hit me. My upside-down life wasn’t completely ruined. Things could be a lot worse.
I could be the dead guy floating in the ocean.
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