*** Deliciously Complex Mystery Review by Rox Burkey
Author W.B. Edwards weaves a story centered on the precocious 11-year-old Nell Morgan. Her mother brought Nell and her older brother Lonnie to the once elegant and popular beachfront hotel in California. Their mother works at the hotel, while their father works overseas in Beirut.
The rambling, multilevel structure has rooftop access for viewing panoramic from ocean to nearby community, as well as a basement swimming pool. Its claim to fame was as a 1930s dance club and dining destination for the rich and hopeful drawn to Hollywood fame. Nell’s mother danced and partied at the hotel’s weekend events as a young woman before she married. The hotel a boasts popular dining venue for locals and summer guests to the beach. Lonnie works part time in the restaurant during the summer.
Summer of 1959 begins the story of Nell wanting to surf. The family stayed in the converted Deluxe Honeymoon Suite as a part of Virginia’s employment. Having made friends with the hotel handyman Mr. Barker, Nell has a special key to the pool before it opens in the morning. In the quiet mornings Nell feels this is her pool. She knows and explores all the secret passages, no longer used by guests. Lonnie, at an age where he wants the companionship of high school aged buddies as he learns to surf.
Nell is tenacious, curious, fearless, intuitive, and well-read. She finds an unsolved story of a missing up-and-coming-starlet, Irene Young, from the 1930s that piques her interest because portions of her outfit were found in the basement pool. The story centers around her search for answers to the mystery, then dovetails with the missing daughter of the current hotel owner. Nell finds the evidence and is subsequently questioned by police.
The plot of the story is delightful woven between the late 1950s and the events surrounding Irene Young’s disappearance in 1938. The transitions between the times are done well and work to build the story’s suspense throughout. I was delighted at the intertwining of the two events and surprising ending.
Narrator, Zoe Galanopoulos does a good job of the general story. The dialogue was different for the characters yet inconsistent. The technical quality of the audiobook was adequate, but switches seemed choppy to me, with long pauses in between sections within a given chapter. I found these disruptive to the listening experience as they continued through the audio delivery. There is also what I presume as noise of waves crashing beginning each new chapter which also did not work across any of the various speakers I used to listen to the story. I can recommend the story, but not the audio portion. I plan to read my next foray into the stories of this author.
About the Author
W.B. (Bill) Edwards is a retired telephone employee who majored in English for two years at Rio Hondo College in Whittier, California, from 1966 to 1968. Veteran (Navy), motorcycle enthusiast, surfer, Taiji practitioner, dreamer. Now an Indie author with two novels published, and working on a third, Mr. Edwards has embraced his passion for writing, fulfilling his lifelong ambition to be a published author. He studied English and Creative Writing in the ’60s at Rio Hondo College in Whittier, CA under William Burns. After serving in the Navy during the Vietnam war, he resumed his studies at Mesa College in San Diego, and was a member of The Professional Writers Workshop of San Diego under such luminaries as Chet Cunningham.
About the Narrator
In the words of the narrator, Zoe Galanopoulos, I love books and have always wanted to read for them. I’m particularly good at sarcastic characters and am able to speak in both Greek and English, if required.