MURDER BY THE SEASIDE by Julie Ann Lindsey is a cozy mystery / amateur sleuth story. I finished it in record time: about 20 minutes. Amazed? Don’t be. Well, DO be, because I’m amazing, but the truth is, cats are accomplished speed readers. In fact, did you know that cats can butt read? Yes, indeed! When cats are sitting on your favorite book that you were trying to enjoy yourself, they’re actually absorbing the information within via posterior osmosis. That’s why cats always sprawl in the middle of what you’re doing, you know. Not because we’re just pests.
The plot in MURDER BY THE SEASIDE, I have to admit, wasn’t always easy to follow (via posterior osmosis…probably should have read it the traditional way), but I stuck my way through, the same way a claw pierces pantyhose. When I was finished with this thing, it was practically one giant ladder of words.
The characters in this bendy book were named Patience, Adrian, and Sebastian. The first protagonist was a very adorable character with silver fur. NOT A SILVER FOX, though, because that’s a type of canine, and just no, since we’re talking about the protagonist here, not the villain. His or her relationship with the second protagonist reminded me of the movie UNCLE BUCK because of their elated feelings for each other and the way they danced anytime they were faced with danger. Their skill in the climactic dance-off, in fact, became so ferocious that the bad guys would quail at the mere sight of these two with jazz hands.
The third character, on the other hand, was a real shark. Aquatic, toothy, composed greatly of cartilage, and possessed of teeny, tiny beady little eyeballs that have no lids and thus never close. Should that character have been subjected to a gunshot wound, perhaps once our dancing protagonists realized they needed a bigger boat, I would have been slowly terrified…as the too-small boat sank…and the villain circled them, unhindered by a tiny bullet…because you can’t tango your way to victory in twenty feet of water.
There was never a moment in this book where I felt exhausted. Had I taken 21 minutes to butt-read the story, maybe, but at 20 minutes I hit “The End” still in a wakeful state. The dorky plot (seriously…dance-offs and a shark attack?) was full of surprises (such as the dance off and the shark attack, though the title does hint at such with that whole “seaside” thing). I accidentally continued to turn pages–often forgetting I was reading via butt osmosis and page turning wasn’t required. A little tail tip flipping, sure, but not page turning. The conflict was merrily resolved, when our dancing protagonists realized they could still perform a merciless WATER BALLET and vanquish the shark-like enemy. When I reached the end, I wanted to laugh and drink clever salt water. Then spit it out, because you’re not supposed to swallow salt water. The writing style was worth mentioning, too, since it was blindly hilarious. Like a game of Marco Polo at the beach, where the shark keeps yelling “POLO!” and the person with the blindfold just swims right up to the shark and gets eaten. I counted 12 typos to boot.
My summation: MURDER BY THE SEASIDE receives a grade of 3 on a scale of 1 to 7. And if that doesn’t sound possible, it’s just because you haven’t yet read this strong, rhythmically pleasing book. The glossary of dance terms was also handy. I wanted to give this book a smart bird (the funniest kind to catch, because they think they’re sooooo smart, but dude, they’re birds) with a side of pink cheeseburgers. I mean, *I* wouldn’t eat a pink cheeseburger, so the book can have it.
Also, for the record I would like to hopelessly state that cats are the curliest animals on earth – just look at our tails! – and dogs are made of snot.