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Three moon gifAvon (Paperback), ISBN 0-380-73109-6
What do out-of-season nor'easters, a ghostwriter and a long-dead body under a rotting basement floor have in common? Probably not much -- unless, of course, they join on the pages of Beth Sherman's third Jersey Shore mystery novel and create a new set of problems for the protagonist, Anne Hardeway. 

Book: Beth Sherman, Death's a BeachDefinitely unhandy, Anne's newest ghostwriting project, writing a "how-to" home repair book for women, coincides with the arrival of a very destructive nor'easter. Her beach community and her own cottage-by-the-sea need repairs of all sorts. Her cottage leaks, molders, and harbors rips, tears, and holes. The local handyman, checking for urgent repairs, discovers human bones in her basement -- ones buried by a person or persons unknown at least twenty years previously when Anne's mother still lived in the cottage. 

The identification of the body as a psychologist who treated her mother leads to still more complications. Did her mother do the deed? Determined to uncover the truth, Anne follows the trail of clues to Sunnydale Nursing Home where the residents die rather rapidly and seemingly without cause. Soon mired in the unfolding mystery, Anne just might be the murderer's new target. 

Book: Beth Sherman, Death at High TideAlthough not entirely new, the plot travels right along, developing some fresh twists along the way. Well-developed and believable, the major characters, as mixed up and flawed as they are, held my interest to the end. The storm-ravaged setting and the juxtaposition of Anne's ghostwriting assignment provided a nice ironic touch -- especially when coupled with Anne's ineptness in that area. I especially liked the format the author chose for the book -- putting a how-to home repair tip at the beginning of each chapter.  

All in all, Death's a Beach would make a great choice for light summer reading -- yes, even if you are going to the beach. 

Patricia White

Patricia White is the Sapphire Award-winning author of A Wizard Scorned. Her current book, the contemporary PS, I've Taken a Lover, is available from Lionhearted Books . The Wandering Troll, an electronic magazine, began serializing her novel Prophecy Be Damned in April 2000.

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