Book Review: Murder at the Marina

I am excited and honored to be a part of the blog tour for this debut cozy mystery!

I first met the author in 2016 during the annual A-Z Blogging Challenge.  That year Ellen posted an original Nancy Drew Investigates story on her blog, The Cynical Sailor & His Salty Sidekick. I’m not sure what I enjoyed most – Ellen’s creativity, her storytelling skills, her unique sense of humor, or her lifestyle. See Ellen and her husband retired in 2013 – sold everything – and now live on a sailboat! I am only slightly envious but since I don’t sail, I mostly sit in awe and wonder.

I have followed Ellen’s blog ever since. When she hinted at writing a cozy mystery, I cheered her on. And when she asked for advanced readers, I eagerly raised my hand. Not only did I want to support a fellow writer, but I sincerely wanted to read this clever cozy concept. I did receive a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review – and an honest review is what follows.

Mollie McGhie and her husband Scooter are celebrating their ten year anniversary. Mollie is secretly hoping for a diamond necklace to mark the special milestone. Instead, Scooter gives her a run-down sailboat, Marjorie Jane, with the promise of carefree life on the water. Mollie is less than impressed.

The marina provides the perfect setting for this “small town” mystery and true to the genre, a cast of characters inhabit the area. Captain Dan, the boat broker who sold Majorie Jean to Scooter, is a sleek (and slimy) salesman who seems to make enemies everywhere he goes. He is found murdered on the McGhie’s boat and Mollie is determined to use her investigative reporter skills to determine who did it.

Now, investigative reporter is quite a stretch. Mollie is a volunteer for FAROUT, an organization that explores possible alien abductions. But she does ask probing questions that elicit useful information.

While this aspect of the story did not quite resonate with me … I must admit I found Mollie to be a delightful amateur sleuth (and not just because we share the same name). She is a little snarky, a bit of a buttinsky, and a confirmed chocoholic!

The author does a good job of developing a list of possible suspects. However, when the prime suspect becomes the second murder victim Mollie must double down on chocolate and dig a little deeper.

All-in-all this was a clever cozy and a fun read. I feel the author developed the characters well in this first novel and I look forward to getting to know them better as the series progresses.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars



  • Darla M Sands

    Oh, thank you for the reminder. I was also fortunate to receive an ARC for a review. I’ll get on that today. I’m also with you on how I feel about her lifestyle. Cool, but probably not for me. ~grin~ Nice to find you! Be well, my dear.

    • Molly Totoro

      While it would be easy for me to romanticize the sailing life, I think Ellen does a great job of presenting the good, bad, and ugly of it all 🙂
      Thanks for stopping by, Darla!

  • Ellen Jacobson

    Thank you so much for your support and encouragement, Molly! I really appreciate you taking the time to read and review Murder at the Marina and participate in the start of the blog tour and fiesta 🙂

  • Kay

    Well, I’m not a sailor at all or even any kind of boat person. I get so motion sick. However, I do like to read about people on boats or cruises or whatever. This book sounds fun and I love a snarky character – the chocolate would be a bonus. Ha! I’ll take a look at this one. It sounds like a nice fit in between some of my darker reads. Thanks for telling us about it, Molly! And good luck to you, Ellen!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: