One dead body, one interrupted marriage proposal, and too many suspects to count.
On the night of her engagement, Rae Lynn Dobbs stumbles across a dead body on the beach of White Sands, Florida. Not only does she recognize the murder victim as one of the retirement-home residents where she serves dinner, but it looks increasingly likely that someone there also killed him.
To her fiancé’s dismay, Rae Lynn launches her own investigation. Between the gossipy widows, the home’s last surviving bachelor, and her coworkers, Rae Lynn doesn’t have any shortage of suspects. But the more she learns, the more it seems anyone could be guilty. And if she doesn’t find out “whodunit” quickly, her fiancé might just become fed up enough to leave.
Rae Lynn Dobbs has just accepted her boyfriend Caleb’s marriage proposal (and the hideous ring that accompanies it) when the couple come upon a body face-down in the sand. When the deceased turns out to be someone Rae Lynn knows, she finds herself compelled to try to solve the case herself, which causes more than a few difficulties in both her personal and her work life.
Murder in White Sands is a fun (and funny) read. Rae Lynn, the narrator and main character, is sympathetic without being saccharine. A retirement-home worker, Rae-Lynn can be understandably exasperated with her demanding boss, her pillock of a fiance, and her sometimes-tedious job, but she’s unfailingly kind to the elderly residents of the White Sands Retirement Village.
The murder was well-plotted, deftly interwoven with other plot elements. While the murderer’s identity wasn’t obvious at all before the reveal, it made sense in retrospect, striking the perfect balance between too much foreshadowing and too little. One of my favorite elements of the book was Rae Lynn’s ongoing struggle to be balance truth and tact on the topic of her fiance’s taste in wedding jewelry. I envisioned the ring as looking something like this
except with cats’ paws instead of human hands.
The various plotlines in this sweet and good-natured story wrap up nicely. If I were to make any suggestion, it would be to shorten the first chapter and jump right into the second, with its entertaining description of Rae Lynn’s encounter with White Sands’ finest.
Murder in White Sands is a funny, readable cozy mystery with a satisfying conclusion. Highly recommended for readers who are looking for a light, funny, and engaging mystery with a likable protagonist.
Q: Marla, thanks for stopping by! I really enjoyed reading Murder in White Sands. For those who haven’t yet read it, tell us about your protagonist, Rae Lynn.
A: Rae Lynn Dobbs is a 36-year-old retirement home waitress who has just gotten engaged when she finds the dead body of one of the home residents. She’s a little curious by nature, but who wouldn’t be if someone they knew died mysteriously? She doesn’t like cats, and she really doesn’t like engagement rings that feature cat paws. Overall, she’s basically a good person who wants to do what’s right.
Q: How much of you is in Rae Lynn? How would you feel about her if you met her in real life?
A: Rae Lynn is similar to me in the way she thinks. We’re both sarcastic. I used to be a waitress in a retirement home too, so we share that. However, I didn’t set out to model her after me, and we differ in a lot of respects too (I love cats, for the record). If we met in real life, I’m sure we’d get along great. Since I have control over everything she does, I could make her fold my laundry, wash dishes, etc. Seriously though, I’m fond of all my protagonists. If they weren’t fictional, they would be the type of people I’d like to hang out with.
Q: Do your characters change and evolve throughout consecutive books, or do you prefer to write stand-alones?
A: My novels are all stand-alones. I do like my main characters to evolve somewhat throughout their individual stories, even if that’s just to become more aware of themselves and their own motives. I mean, there has to be more to life than finding dead bodies, right?
Q: Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life–on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean?
A: Never! Everyone I murder is completely fictional (in name, anyway).
Q: How true to life is the town of White Sands?
A: White Sands is a fictional town, but it’s roughly based on Sarasota, Florida. The original setting was going to be Sarasota, but the story needed more of a small-town feel so I made up a place. For my novels that take place in real cities, I try to stay true to the city layout, but I make up most businesses. I will say though, when my Seattle characters drive around, traffic moves much more quickly than it does in real life.
Q: When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?
A: I’m going to really date myself here because I don’t watch much TV and I have no idea what a lot of the recently famous actors look like. Personally, I love Sandra Bullock, and I think she’d be great as Rae Lynn (although I think she’d be great in any role). Betty White would be fantastic as one of the retirement home residents. She has the right mix of energy and humor. That said though, I’d really like to see a lot of unknowns cast. As an indie author I know how hard it is to gain public attention, and I’d love for my book’s movie version to pave the way for some lesser-known actors. Now if only someone offered to buy the film rights!
Q: What’s the worst and best advice you’ve heard or received as an author?
A: This is a tough one because I’ve learned so much from other authors since I started self-publishing. I suppose the best advice would be to write every day, whether you feel like it or not. Establishing a routine is the only way I can ever finish a book. I haven’t really received any bad advice. I’ve tried a lot of things that haven’t been very effective, but I think that’s part of the process of figuring out what works for you and your stories.
About The Author
Marla Bradeen previously worked as a software consultant and analyst. In 2012, she gave up a traditional job for no other reason than to have more time to pursue personal interests, such as sleeping in late and taking naps. Although she misses seeing regular deposits into her bank account, she hasn’t once regretted that decision.
She didn’t initially intend to begin writing novels, but after several weeks of doing nothing, she realized sleeping all day isn’t as easy or enjoyable as her cats led her to believe. Over the ensuing months, she wrote Lethal Injection, which she self-published in 2013.
Join her readers’ group to receive a free copy of her cozy, chick-lit mystery novel Lost Witness: http://hyperurl.co/rg2
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