Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Oliver Twisted by Cindy Brown - #review #giveaway

Orphans. Thieves. Murder. And an All-You-Can-Eat Buffet!

When Ivy Meadows lands a gig with the book-themed cruise line Get Lit!, she thinks she’s died and gone to Broadway. Not only has she snagged a starring role in a musical production of Oliver Twist, she’s making bank helping her PI uncle investigate a string of onboard thefts, all while sailing to Hawaii on the S.S. David Copperfield.

But Ivy is cruising for disaster. Her acting contract somehow skipped the part about aerial dancing forty feet above the stage, her uncle Bob is seriously sidetracked by a suspicious blonde, and—oh yeah—there’s a corpse in her closet.

Forget catching crooks. Ivy’s going to have a Dickens of a time just surviving.

Other Books in the Ivy Meadows Mystery Series:
MacDeath (#1)



In January 2014, I read the first book in this series, MacDeath, and enjoyed it immensely.  Somehow I must have slept through 2015, because I missed The Sound of Murder.  But I'm truly glad to be back reading about Ivy and her adventures.

"Why", you might ask.  Well, I am a nut for live theatre.  So much so I got a minor in theatre (to go with my finance major), and have acted or tech'd about 30 plays.  Cindy's books are about as close as I get to the theatre these days (we live in the boonies), so it's always a pleasure.

What a cool idea, to have a cruise line with ships named after famous authors and theme the voyages after titles of the author's books!  In this case, there is "Oliver Twisted" a shortened musical take-off on the Broadway musical "Oliver Twist", taking place on the S.S. David Copperfield.  I would SO be in my element.  Books and theatre together???  That's this gal's career nirvana!

If you haven't read one of the series yet, Ivy is a part-time PI (at her uncle's agency) and a part-time actress.  They both have been hired by the cruise line to investigate a string of high-dollar thefts from the guests on a number of ships.  Ivy goes undercover as an actress in the play "Oliver Twisted", oh yeah, with like one week to learn her lines, the songs and the dance steps.  I've done that; it is not easy at all.  Her uncle is a passenger.

And talk about a 'twisted' mystery.  Usually in a mystery, the characters may not be as they appear.  In this book, the actors are dressed in period costumes, so you know darn well that they aren't as they appear.  The women in the troupe are *ahem* less than cordial to the newcomer Ivy, and the men who are not gay are all looking at her cinched-up costumed chest.'

The kid that played Oliver needed someone to take him to the woodshed.  He was incorrigible!  He would actually pick pockets and I have my doubts as to whether or not he would return whatever he stole if Ivy hadn't been there to catch him!

The sub-plot with Ivy's brother Cody (who has a TBI - traumatic brain injury - from an accident and lives in a group home) is very engaging.  Cody and his friend Stu go missing from the group home, and are gone at least overnight.  Everyone is worried.  Ivy and her uncle cannot leave the ship.  Then Cody calls Ivy and talks to her, letting her know he's ok and asking for her help in finding Stu.  The ending to that part of the story is utterly charming.

I await the next 'season' of the Ivy Meadows Mysteries with bated breath. :O)



Cindy Brown has been a theater geek (musician, actor, director, producer, and playwright) since her first professional gig at age 14. Now a full-time writer, she’s lucky enough to have garnered several awards (including 3rd place in the 2013 international Words With Jam First Page Competition, judged by Sue Grafton!) and is an alumnus of the Squaw Valley Writers Workshop. Though Cindy and her husband now live in Portland, Oregon, she made her home in Phoenix, Arizona, for more than 25 years and knows all the good places to hide dead bodies in both cities.




Click on the link to go to the tour page, where you will find links to more reviews!  You can also find out how to become a blog host for future book tours while you are there!

(Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.  This post contains affiliate links.)


This review helps me complete the following 2016 Reading Challenges:


  1. New author/series.
    Would love to try it.

  2. This sounds like a great book and fun series. Thanks for introducing me to Cindy.

  3. I love live theatre - and always list it as the number one thing I miss about living in the city.

    So when I saw this series, I knew I had to read it. I really enjoyed MacDeath, as you did, and I'm currently reading The Sound of Murder. I can hardly wait to get to this one - sounds great!

  4. I really like the play on the title. It actually sounds really entertaining and as if it would be a book I could like!

  5. This sounds so good. I'd love to read it.