Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary M/M cozy mystery from Josh Lanyon. BODY AT BUCCANEER’S BAY is the fifth book in the Secrets and Scrabble series, and I’m a huge fan! Previous titles include: MURDER AT PIRATE’S COVE, SECRET AT SKULL HOUSE, and MYSTERY AT THE MASQUERADE, and SCANDAL AT THE SALTY DOG, and this episode has Ellery Page, bumbling bookseller and outsider in a small town, caught in another mystery when he and his boyfriend, Chief Jack Carson, find a body wearing 19th century dive gear, but lurking in 20th century shipwreck. I’ve also enjoyed MAINLY BY MOONLIGHT and I BURIED A WITCH if you’re interested in magical realism M/M odd-couple romance from this author.
Dead Men Tell No Tales
Mystery Bookshop owner Ellery Page and Police Chief Jack Carson are diving for the legendary sunken pirate galleon Blood Red Rose when they discover an old fashioned diver’s suit, water-damaged and encrusted with barnacles. Further examination reveals the 19th Century suit contains a 21st Century body.
Who is the mysterious diver? No one seems to be missing from the quaint and cozy town of Pirate’s Cove. Was he really diving for pirate’s gold? And if not, what exactly did he do to earn that bullet hole in his skull?
Screenwriter and former actor Ellery Page is finally settling into quaint but active Pirate’s Cove on Buck Island, off the coast of Rhode Island. His steady beau is Police Chief Jack Carson, with whom Ellery goes scuba diving, and together they find an unidentified body. The body isn’t only out of place, it’s seemingly out of time with the wreck. Jack is continually challenged by Ellery’s penchant for getting caught up in murder plots in real life. In fact, Ellery’s exploits have earned him a potential stalker–someone who’s willing to send him anonymous threatening letters. Jack wants Ellery to get more security at his home and bookshop, but money’s tight. It seems he might get a windfall, if he accepts the disingenuous role as an amateur sleuth investigating the attempted murder of a visitor to the area, Odette Wallace. Odette and her late-husband’s family used to visit Buck Island–and she’s convinced one of his adult children are behind a few shady situations that could have killed her if they hadn’t been otherwise thwarted. She and her partner, Mr. King, a longtime acquaintance of the Wallace family, are visiting for Yacht Race Week, as are all three of Odette’s stepchildren.
Mrs. Wallace is unwilling to go to the police. Turns out there was a contentious situation where her terminally-ill, yachtsman husband died alone aboard ship–prior to demanding a divorce, according to his children. It was so inexplicable that Odette was officially arrested under suspicion of murder, but was later released when there was insufficient evidence. Now, she’s convinced that one of the step-children wants her dead to collect their father’s trust. Could this be connected to the boyd Ellery found? Or, to the stalker who’s breaking into Ellery’s home and business? Will Ellery’s sleuthing help keep Odette safe? And, will Jack ever speak to Ellery again when he learns Ellery’s accepted Odette’s retainer to help solve her attempted murder mystery?
This is a fast-paced story that gives us a LOT more info on Ellery, as his mom and step-father visit. Unlike the acrimonious situation with the Wallaces, Ellery loves his parents, and wants them to love Jack, too. The misdirection is frantic, and Ellery’s confidence in Jack’s affection is waning as the long days wear on, and the danger moves closer to Ellery than anyone–especially Jack–likes. This is a conflict, of course, because Jack can’t protect Ellery if he’s on duty all the time, and Race Week has all the officers on overtime. The Wallace children are all haters of Odette, but one of them might be more effectively lethal than then other two. Expect an explosive ending, blowing away the conspiracy theories and pairing Jack and Ellery together in solving these cases.
I love seeing Ellery and Jack get closer to one another, and develop a deeper bond. Ellery is an absolute hoot, and I adore his narrative voice. I flew through this story, much like the previous books in this series, and I recommend it to fans of cozy mysteries, especially those starring LGBTQ characters.
About the Author:
Josh Lanyon is the author of over sixty titles of classic Male/Male fiction featuring twisty mystery, kickass adventure and unapologetic man-on-man romance.
Her work has been translated into eleven languages. The FBI thriller Fair Game was the first male/male title to be published by Harlequin Mondadori, the largest romance publisher in Italy. Stranger on the Shore (Harper Collins Italia) was the first M/M title to be published in print. In 2016 Fatal Shadows placed #5 in Japan’s annual Boy Love novel list (the first and only title by a foreign author to place). The Adrien English Series was awarded All Time Favorite Male Male Couple in the 2nd Annual contest held by the 20,000+ Goodreads M/M Group. Josh is an Eppie Award winner, a four-time Lambda Literary Award finalist (twice for Gay Mystery), an Edgar nominee and the first ever recipient of the Goodreads Favorite M/M Author Lifetime Achievement award.
Thanks for popping in, and keep reading my friends!