To clear her brother’s name, Whit will have to investigate Jules’ shady associates and not exactly grief-stricken family members — Much Ado about Nauticaling (A Whit and Whiskers Mystery) #GabbyAllanTweet
What inspired the idea for your book?
When I lived in Southern California we used to go over to Catalina Island for the day or to camp for the week. I’ve always loved the atmosphere over there and thought wouldn’t it be awesome to play with that setting? And then I did and I loved it!
What was the most surprising thing you learned in writing this book?
What it takes to build a glass bottom boat and that fishermen started doing this when the catch was too small to make a living off of. They started taking out the bottom of their boat to ferry around tourists and a new industry was born!
If you were friends with a character in this book, what kinds of things would you do together?
Oh, Whit and I would definitely have to see who could make the tires chirp on a golf cart first. And I’m pretty sure we’d be in the spa for a massage after having homemade ice cream.
What does it mean to you to be called an author?
It means I get to share my worlds with people I might never meet, but somewhere we’re connecting. It also means that I get to live out dream jobs that I might never be qualified for but I can definitely tell about them in stories.
How do you define success as an author?
I’m successful when people are reading and enjoying my stories. If they snort tea through their nose in laughter then I’ve hit platinum!
Do you have any quirky writing rituals?
I sure do! Instead of putting on my author hat (which I used to do years ago and had a whole collection depending on what I was writing at the time), I now put on my writing slippers. They have Animal from the Muppets on them and give me the focus and drive to get things done!
What is your author spirit animal?
Sometimes I’m pretty sure it is a possum. Other times I like to think it’s a dragon, and I even got a tree with dragon scales bark tattooed on my leg to remind myself to roar even as I’m putting myself out into the world through my books.
What would the title of your autobiography be?
“How Many Ways Can You Do It Wrong and Still Get It Right?”
What would your dream library look like?
I want one like the Beast’s. I’ve always dreamed of having one of those rolling ladders that I could swing around on. I am afraid I’d probably seriously harm myself on one, but what a way to go to the hospital!
I have to say, the last time I had first hand knowledge of the small towns featured in a book I was reading, it was written by Dean Koontz and there was nothing cozy about it. This was a lot more fun.
Much ado about Nauticaling follows Whitney Dagner. She and her brother Nick have recently inherited a boat tour company from their grandparents, located on Santa Catalina Island off the coast of California. While she visited the island many times while growing up, she has recently returned from the mainland permanently dragging along her room mate Maribel, who works as a receptionist in the local Sheriff’s office, and seemingly followed by her ex boyfriend Felix, who also works with the police. Her grandparents are a hoot, if a bit cliche. They, especially Goldy, strike a good balance between being flakey, super meddlesome and perfectly helpful at just the right moments.
I do love it when I know who done it, but end up second guessing myself because I can’t figure out why, and there are just so many juicy suspects to play with. That was certainly the case here. The mystery offers a plethora of clues, plenty of red herrings (which makes sense in a seaside town) and just the right pacing to keep the story moving along and the reader guessing.
This story has all the promise of a good cozy series. The setting is wonderful. There are some terrific characters and the author obviously knows how to tell a story. Still, the amateur sleuth seems sometimes a bit too amateur, so much so that she hangs a lantern on it more than once. With a constant inner monologue, she is at times a bit erratic and people talk to her a bit too easily, even when she makes it clear that she is theorizing their involvement, or that of someone they care about, in the crime. Also, the small town cops are a bit too shallow and rigid, not merely a bit incompetant.
While it may be trying to cram a few too many cozy tropes into the plot, there is much to recommend this series going forward and I would enjoy another visit to Avalon in the future to see what these characters are getting up to.
I received an advance review copy for free through Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, and I am leaving this review voluntarily
Whitney Dagner is your tour guide to a Pacific paradise that’s to die for—only to find it’s a place people are also willing to kill for—in Gabby Allan’s Much Ado About Nauticaling, first in the Whit and Whiskers Mystery series.
After far too many years in the Los Angeles corporate world, Whitney Dagner has come home to Santa Catalina Island off the California coast to help her brother Nick run Nautically Yours, the family tourism business. Between gift shop shifts selling all manner of T-shirts and tchotchkes and keeping her feline Whiskers in fine fettle, she pilots the Sea Bounder, a glass bottom boat showing tourists the underwater sights of aquatic plants, marine life—and a murder victim?
The self-proclaimed “Master of the Island,” Jules Tisdale was a wealthy man with business interests throughout Catalina who was about to be honored as Person of the Year before someone strangled him with his own tie and tossed his body into the water. That someone appears to be Nick, who had a raw deal from Jules and no alibi the night of his murder. To clear her brother’s name, Whit will have to investigate Jules’ shady associates and not exactly grief-stricken family members—with the unwelcome help of Felix Ramirez, police diver and Whit’s ex-boyfriend who’s looking to rekindle their relationship.
After writing plays for her friends to act out as a kid, bad poetry in high school, and her high school Alma Mater song, GABBY ALLAN finally found her true passion—cozy mysteries. Being able to share her world with readers, one laugh at a time, and touch people’s hearts with her down-to-earth characters makes for the best job ever. This California girl now lives with her husband, daughter, and two insane dogs in Central Pennsylvania where she is hard at work on her next novel.
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