A review by leahsbooks
Murder at Harbor Village by G.P. Gardner

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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