MURDER BUYS A T-SHIRT


By Christy Fifield

Berkley Prime Crime, 2012 ($7.99)

ISBN-13: 978-0-425-24666-5

Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel

Glory Martine has inherited 55% of her great uncle's souvenir shop, Southern Treasures, in Keyhole Bay, Florida. She's also inherited Uncle Louis' foul-mouthed parrot, Bluebeard. Lately, odd things have been happening in the shop, and she's not sure if the problems have been caused by intruders, by a bored Bluebeard, or by — dare she say it — a ghost.

Glory and her friend Karen, a local radio reporter, are returning from a treasure-hunting trip in nearby small towns when they come across a tragic scene. Kevin Stanley, the high school football hero, apparently lost control of his baby-blue sports car and crashed into a field. Rumors say he was drinking at a kegger. Glory and Karen don't think things are as cut and dried as they appear, however, and they start asking questions.

Glory's cousin Peter, the owner of the other 45% of the store, is always coming up with tasteless or questionable ways for her to increase the store's profits. She tells him she will not sell t-shirts memorializing Kevin, but he finds a way around her refusal. Soon the store is awash in townsfolk and high school students, and this turns out to be a good way to find out what they think about Kevin's death.

Glory searches through her uncle's old newspapers and other junk, trying to find out more about the man she barely remembers. It almost seems as though he is reaching from beyond the grave to help her. Maybe more than "almost." Bluebeard comes up with some helpful advice and timely warnings, in between his demands for coffee and other unhealthy items.

Glory is a spunky, good-hearted protagonist, and her friends are charming. The depiction of small town life and the place of honor awarded to the football team is spot on. There's lots of fun, good friends, good food, and recipes in the back. This is the first in a new series. I look forward to more adventures for Glory, Bluebeard, and the inhabitants of Keyhole Bay.

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