Professor Molly Barda investigates a mysterious paddling accident, and realizes it isn’t just business majors who cheat to get what they want. Whether it’s moving up in the college rankings, getting a seat in the big canoe race, or just looking out for themselves, some people will do whatever it takes-including murder.
I think it would be so hard to go to college in Hawaii. Who wants to sit in a classroom when you can be on the beach by the ocean?!?!?!
But Molly Barda manages to teach at a local college and sounds like she'd like to be somewhere else most of the time. Several of her associates, friends and even a student are participating in an upcoming canoe race on Labor Day. During an arduous practice close to race day, the most disliked member of the team keels over in the water. After a race to the hospital, she dies a short time later. Molly felt a little guilty because she had some not so kind thoughts about the victim just before the accident.
But canoeing in the ocean is not the only bumpy ride in The Cursed Canoe. One of Molly's students happens to meet the pseudo-adult son of Molly's erstwhile boyfriend and they take a liking to each other. That could cause Molly some problems in more than one way.
For once, the love interest of the main character is not involved with law enforcement. He's a restaurateur...and in a down economy that relies in part of tourism, that can spell trouble. But he seems to be well-liked personally and professionally by the locals, so that says a lot. I do have one bone to pick with him, though. He had planned a kind of weekend away for himself and Molly. He had previously given Molly his room number. She talks to him several times on the way, but some of the connections are severely garbled. She walks into the room she knew about with a bottle of wine and a certain kind of sway...to find out that the son was there instead and her boyfriend was in a room closer to hers. By the time she gets back there, the father and son have spoken, and the boyfriend seems to think the mix-up was intentional on Molly's part. I mean, please!
And the college is about as screwed up as most institutions of higher learning here on the mainland. There is such a thing as rules that are too lax. Molly jokingly suggests after the latest round of belt-loosening that they let students make their own grades...and the administration wants her to make a plan for it! When they let children run wild it's called neglect.
When it's all said and done, though, Hawaii is still a tropical paradise and Ms. Bow writes a heck of a mystery. Her killers are very creative. I'm surprised Molly could handle her confrontation with the killer so calmly. She's spent the book taking care of (well....you know) her blood pressure. A therapist gives her a medication for anxiety and she takes one not too long before a staff meeting, after having wine with lunch. She was exceptionally...relaxed...during the usually tense meeting.
The Cursed Canoe has a little something for everyone: a slick mystery, and intrepid heroine, some comic relief. At this time of year, people start making noise about good 'beach reads'. Here ya go. Catch a few rays for me!
MEET THE AUTHOR
In addition to writing murder mysteries, she publishes in scholarly journals under her real name. Her experience with academic publishing has taught her to take nothing personally.
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(Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links.)