Murder at Harbor Village, by G.P. Gardner

blacksentai's review

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This was fun, the ending was very abrupt though. I hate jim though.

amylee218's review

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I won this book in a giveaway. I had some difficulty with the beginning of this book. I found some of it kind of implausible (the way everything just seemed to fall into place for Cleo). I would have found it more realistic if her ex found out that she was moving to Fairhope and offered her the job and apartment rather than her just tripping into these fantastic opportunities. I kept having to remind myself of Cleo's age-- she is 49, I am 46. I enjoy spending time in my grandmother's apartment complex, with her peers, but I would not be ready to live there. I just don't understand why Cleo didn't want to spend time with her peers. Her new best friends were all in their 80's, and while I am sure they are nice and the evenings were enjoyable, I don't believe she would want to spend every night that way. I started to enjoy the story more when Cleo began working. The job was interesting and seemed to be an appropriate challenge for her. I also liked many of her coworkers, especially Stewart and Patti. The ending made me think that eccentric Uncle Nelson may have a story of his own.

eattanread's review

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Cozy Murder Mystery

Cleo Mack has just been asked to retire early from her position as a social work professor at a university in Atlanta. She finds herself in Fairhope Alabama, a picture perfect community known for retirees and it is love at first sight. While exploring the town she meets a wonderful older lady Nita, and they become fast friends. Nita lives in Harbor Village, a retirement community and assisted living facility. The very next day Cleo has a chance encounter with Jamie, RN and acting administrator at Harbor Village who is on the hunt for a part time social worker for a Resident Services position at the facility. When Cleo stops by to check the place out she is instantly drawn to it. It seems everything is falling into place, a new part time job that still gave her time to enjoy her retirement, and an apartment to go go with it but is it too good to be true?
Once Cleo gets moved in, things really start to shake up. First the unpopular director, Lee, is found murdered in the pool and turns out that she was the newly wed wife to Cleo’s ex husband. Travis asks Cleo to take over as acting director and snoop around for him. He thinks some fishy things have been going on lately and the finances aren’t matching up. As Cleo starts to uncover not only money discrepancies but missing medications too, she may be on her way to figuring out who the murderer might be and why.
“The problem is, the police phone log doesn’t agree. Dispatch says the call didn’t come from Dolly’s phone. It came from an unlisted number.” “What’s known as a burner phone. The type drug dealers use.”

“I recoiled. “A murder? Is that what they’re calling it now?” “A suspicious death, possible homicide. That’s the official terminology. I still say drowning, but technically it wasn’t.”

“I resolved to spend the next month applying the Sudoku approach to Harbor Village and its problems. I planned to use logic, to be systematic and to try new approaches when necessary.”

“I think I should call her at home. An employee who skips work and doesn’t call in? The week after we have a murder on the premises? Of course we should check on her.”

Very good cozy mystery! This one kept me guessing who the murderer was the entire time. An easy and entertaining read for all ages. The characters are all likable and the story line was well thought out. Cleo is very level headed and, unlike the main character in other cozies I have read, she actually calls the police when she finds evidence.

leahsbooks's review

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lighthearted medium-paced
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


I have recently discovered the fun of cozy mysteries, and thought this would be a cute one. But it just wasn't the right fit for me. The story felt way too unrealistic for me to enjoy.

Cleo seemed like a nice character, if a little too cheery to be a real human being. She is offered a very early retirement, and decides to move to Alabama to be closer to her daughter, who has a new baby. I figure that this would put Cleo in her late 40s or early 50s, but within minutes of arriving in town, she's immediately approached by Nita, an older woman and showed around town. Nita tells her all about a 55+ retirement community and says how nice it would be if Cleo moved there. Of course, Cleo decides to move in.

Naturally, Cleo is offered a part-time job at the community, lands the perfect apartment in the job, and when a murder occurs, Cleo is given the acting executive director position. As anyone who has worked in a corporate chain knows, rather than giving the job to a part-timer who hasn't even actually started working yet, they'd pull someone from another facility. And of course, Cleo is quickly absorbed into the social groups among the people who are 20-30 years her senior. She doesn't become friends with anyone her own age. Because that's also believable. I always enjoy spending time with people who are that much older than me rather than people who are close to my own age. Especially when those people are elderly. Nita's husband was kind of annoying too - especially overbearing and nosy, acting like he knew more than everyone else. 

The story got really invested in meaningless details, to the point where I found myself drifting off. I honestly didn't care about exactly what groceries Cleo bought, what she did with them when she bought them, and exactly where she put them away. The suspects were barely even involved in the story, so when the final plot twist occurred, I actually had to listen to it three times to figure out what had happened. However, it turns out I didn't even care. 

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beachbumbookworm's review

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Let me start with saying I rate my cozy mysteries different than all other genres of books I read. I still use a five star rating system (or with cozies I like to think instead of stars how many cups of coffee/tea.….which is my idea of cozy). The following is how I rate my cozies:
1 cup of coffee- did not finish or will not continue on in series.
2 cups of coffee- this book has potential, but on the fence whether I will read the next book.
3 cups of coffee- good- will definitely continue series, but did have some issues
4 cups of coffee- great- will definitely continue series- minor issues
5 cups of coffee-EXCEPTIONAL!
What I think about when I give my ratings:
1.) There called cozies for a reason, and that being said I know they are not for everybody. I love them. Therefore the first thing I think about is how cozy/cheesy are they? The more cheese the better for me…lol. The horrible puns in the titles…LOVE THEM. Yes…if you’re wondering I am the person who loves laffy taffy jokes.
2.) Characters/ and relationships with secondary characters
3.) Setting
4.) The mystery

I gave this book 3.7 cups of coffee.....I LOVED the retirement home setting. I enjoyed but didn't love the characters. The title was just ehh. Overall I have high hopes for the 2nd book, and definitely plan on continuing in the series.

kellkell0's review

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The only issue I had with this book is that the two main suspects were not around for the majority of the story. Other than that, I enjoyed the book. I’ve been on the hunt for a new cozy mystery series and I feel like I found it.

annarella's review

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A very good debut for a new series. The plot is enganging and enjoyable, the cast of characters is lovely and the book never bores.
I loved Cleo, the heroine, and Nita even if the entire cast of characters is well written.
I look forward to reading the next instalment in this series.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to Kensington Books and Netgalley for this ARC