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BIRTHDAYS ARE MURDER
Cindy Sample, author

Adult; Mystery/Thriller

After Sierra Sullivan is furloughed from her cruise director position, she moves to Spindrift Cove, Washington, to be closer to her married daughter. She soon discovers gigs for middle-aged entertainers are scarcer than good hair days. With her bank account sliding toward zero, she dons a ten-pound wig and elaborate costume to perform at a child’s birthday party. Little does Sierra know she’ll soon be upstaged by a corpse and become the leading-lady suspect. As the bodies pile up, the entertainer adlibs her own crime-solving gig, a performance putting her in the crosshairs of a killer, and a finale that truly may be final.
Reviews
Cozy mystery veteran Sample is back with the first entry in her Spindrift Cove series. Sierra Sullivan has left behind her job as a cruise ship director to move closer to her daughter and son-in-law in a small seaside community in Washington State. At an amusing acting gig as Princess Elsa at the birthday party of a wealthy family’s child, Sierra discovers that being small doesn’t mean a town’s unexciting. She discovers Derek Davenport, CEO of Titan Industries, dead inside the party bouncy house. Unlike her character, Sierra has no intention of letting anything go, especially murder—despite being named as a potential suspect.

Sample’s story is perfect for readers who want a fun mystery that’s big on small, close-knit communities, limited in violence, and has family at its heart. When her daughter Melanie, a new detective, is relieved of her duties at the police department because of her mom’s connections to the murder, Sierra is more determined than ever to clear her name and find out who killed Derek. There’s no shortage of suspects, as Derek wasn’t well liked and his company, Titan Industries, seemed to be in financial trouble. Cozy mystery readers will love Sierra’s inability to stop snooping, as well the colorful characters and family dynamics, as Sierra is surrounded by friends with good intentions, a cute caterer, and a police chief trying to keep her out of trouble.

Those promising relationships will likely continue to develop into the next book of the series. Both Sierra and readers are new to this community, and Sample seizes every opportunity to make it an inviting setting for future cases, while keeping the pacing on point, the dialogue crisp and amusing, and even teasing the possibility of several potential romantic interests for Sierra. Cozy readers will be eager to see Sierra face more trouble in this charming milieu.

Takeaway: This charming cozy series kickoff pits a small-town newcomer against the death of a CEO.

Great for fans of: M.C. Beaton’s Agatha Raisin series, Diane Mott Davidson’s Goldy Schulz Culinary series

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A

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