Had fun with this mystery. It’s Hope’s second in the Carolina Slade series. I missed the first, Lowcountry Bribe, in which Hope introduces her cast of characters, but this one reads just fine as a stand-alone.
Hope comes at her mystery from a different direction–not from professional law enforcement or from amateur sleuths, but from the direction of a federal investigator from the Department of Agriculture. Yep, this story took place in the world of tomatoes. And who knew how nerve-racking tomato crops could be?
When the papers for a loan sport different signatures, Slade’s best friend, an ag agent in Beaufort, SC, becomes suspected of embezzlement and fraud. Slade investigates, intent on proving her friend innocent of all wrong-doing. The case gets complicated when a tomato farmer dies in a shrimp boat explosion. Murder takes the case out of Slade’s hands and drops it squarely in the hands of her lover and colleague, Senior Special Agent Wayne Largo. Slade is supposed to stop investigating, but she doesn’t. Of course. Soon, she’s tangled in the dark world of drugs, slavery, and murder. Her fumbling investigation puts her in the line of fire.
Tidewater Murder is a whodunit populated by realistic, and sometimes eccentric people. Slade is a widowed mother of two with a career that frequently takes her out of town. Her friend Savvy is smart and sophisticated, but dumb enough to fall again for a guy she should’ve kept at arm’s length the first time around. Fellow investigator Monroe, with his barely concealed crush on Slade, is caring and straight-laced and totally dedicated to the woman who considers him only a friend. Wayne is both no-nonsense and romantic, and the sparks between him and Slade added spice to a novel full of wit and tension.
Fun read for Mystery lovers like me!
Note for my more sensitive friends: this novel contains some language and mild sex.