Thursday, May 26, 2011

"Matanzas Bay" by Parker Francis

I'm not a big fan of murder mysteries, but being from northeast Florida, and having been to St. Augustine many times, and also having met the author a couple of times, I wanted to read his latest book, a self-published ebook, on my Kindle. With a few exceptions on Goodreads, I've never reviewed a book before. So this is a first for me.

I was pleasantly surprised by the novel Matanzas Bay by Parker Francis. The writing is crisp and engaging. Wit and humor show through a number of passages. For example, "...and he stared at me as though I was a cockroach crawling over his Christmas ham."  And, "...I couldn't remember the last time I'd been hit on by an eighty-year-old woman." And there is a witty exchange between the main character and his girl friend that involves the titles of some of Shakespeare's plays.

As far as the mystery element goes, I didn't know who the murderer was until near the end, and then I wasn't sure until it actually came out.

The plot is complex, intriguing, and plausible.

On the negative side there are a number of editorial errors, at least in my edition. On this point, I give the book a grade of 'B' (a few errors, but doesn't affect the story).

I wish the author had given more descriptions of St. Augustine. He mentions many of the famous historical sites and their historical significance. But he doesn't paint a picture for us. Except for the St. Augustine Alligator Farm and the Matanzas Bay National Monument, which figure prominently in the story, they are just landmarks in his book.

Overall, I would recommend this book to a mystery buff. On that level it works very well. The characters are well drawn, and their interrelationships are masterful. Francis Parker has a talent for telling a good story. I look forward to reading his next mystery.

Matanzas Bay is available on and Barnes &
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