Review – Coastal Corpse by Rena Leith

Coastal Corpse (A Cass Peake Cozy Mystery) by Rena Leith

CoastalCorpse_CoverHappily settled in her cozy cottage with its resident ghost, Cass Peake looks forward to Halloween. Then another corpse is found on her beachfront. With the support of family and her ghostly roommate, Cass investigates. To her dismay, she finds the murder victim handled her goofy neighbor’s trust fund and he was in dire need of money. The suspect list grows with a former husband, another needy relative, and a maybe shady accountant who suddenly disappears. To top it all off, rumors circulate about treasure hidden in Cass’s cottage.

Detective George Ho doesn’t like his ex-girlfriend snooping around. Despite that, sparks still fly between him and Cass. But superstitious George has no idea Cass’s home is haunted. Can Cass solve the mystery and renew the romance with her ghost-adverse ex?

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My Thoughts:

Leo Review smHalloween is nigh and Cass Peake is looking to celebrate her favorite holiday with her brother and sister in law, capitalizing on the (ironically true) haunted reputation of her seaside cottage. A damper falls on the festivities when an out of town woman is found murdered on Cass’s stretch of beach. There is no shortage of suspects, financially strapped family members, an ex-husband coincidentally boarding in the neighborhood, an accountant who has disappeared, and not surprisingly, to the locals anyway, Cass and her family. What can you expect when you live in a haunted house and have dead bodies that keep showing up on your beach?

Rena Leith has a talent for developing her characters. Coastal Corpse is less a cozy than it is a story about Cass and her cast colorful cast of neighbors and family, that just happens to have the occasional murder mystery in it. Of particular note is the central character of Doris the sleuthing ghost.  A roaring 20’s flapper in her lifetime she is now trapped, mostly, in Cass’s cottage. She has a wicked sense of humor, a strong sense of loyalty and a surprisingly brittle sense of self.  In this story, we also have a respectfully superstitious cop, a tech-loving medium, and a neighbor with a talent for showing up at meal times regardless of how erratic they may be. Add that to an eclectic bunch of local residents and this story is filled to the brim.

I have to admit the resolution to the murder mystery ran by a little quickly and a bit out of nowhere for me, but the mystery of the treasure was a subtle seasoning, brightening the story immensely. I would enjoy spending time with Cass and Doris some more.

*I received a free copy of this book for the purposes of review. The thoughts and opinions are my own.


About The Author:

Rena LeithI currently live in Cape May County in New Jersey after spending years in the San Francisco Bay Area with my Maine Coon cats Sierra and Ginger. I attended Clarion Writers Workshop for Science Fiction and Fantasy at Michigan State University and sold a story I wrote there to Damon Knight for The Clarion Awards anthology. I wrote technical manuals in Silicon Valley and also published several poems and science articles as well as a couple of chapters in Research & Professional Resources in Children’s Literature: “Piecing a Patchwork Quilt.” I’ve also taught English in high school and community colleges.

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