• Jools Aguemont

Review: Gwen Mayo and Sarah E. Glenn - "Murder at the Million Dollar Pier"

Come and delve into this murder mystery set in the 1920s.

"Never waste good rum on a bad night!" - Teddy Lawless, February 1926.

First things first: I don't often read murder mysteries. I am not a big crime fiction reader and I hardly ever pick up thrillers. It usually only happens when they come highly recommended from someone who also usually doesn't read thrillers or if there is something else about the story - the characters or the setting - that will grab my attention. In case of "Murder at the Million Dollar Pier" by Gwen Mayo and Sarah E. Glenn, it was the historical setting that made me read the book.

It's set in the roaring twenties, prohibition time and it captures the spirit of the era extremely well. In the very first scene, we are introduced to our protagonists: There's Cornelia, straight-laced and sensible, who still works as a nurse for the military. Her best friend Teddy is the complete opposite, a true party-girl even though she's in her fifties. Teddy also used to be a nurse but after being gassed in World War One, she had to retire. She still looks after the third person in the trio: Cornelia's uncle, who used to be an engineer and who is heading to St. Petersburg, Florida, with the girls to see the constuction of the new pier.

The constellation of the characters was well chosen. All three of them are adorable with all of their flaws. When they accidentally run into Teddy's ex-fiance, she loses her temper and slaps him in front of quite a large group of onlookers in the middle of their posh Hotel's dining room. And then the guy gets killed and all evidence points towards Teddy being the murderess.

For me it wasn't so much the whodunnit storyarc that kept me reading "Murder at the Million Dollar Pier" than the atmosphere and all the little details about life in the twenties. As I said above: I am not a crime fiction reader and can't say much about how well that part was executed. For me, personally, the tension went out of it a few chapters before the end after what I felt was the real show-down that could have solved the mystery. Hence the 3/4 books rating.

The writing is good. I liked how the authors used some historical terms to underline the setting. Any book that uses the word "flapdoodle" will automatically get extra points from me.

Overall, I found "Murder at the Million Dollar Pier" an entertaining read. If you like the twenties with their speakeasies and their fashion and their slowly progressing view on women, you will enjoy reading it as well.

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