Monday, September 18, 2017

Murder at the River Bend Retirement Resort by Stan Schatt - #review

When a very disagreeable resident of the exclusive River Bend Retirement Resort is murdered, bestselling mystery writer Miriam Lipsky has to find the real killer to save her dear friend from prison. She finds the retirement home seethes with intrigue, passion, and jealousy. To make matters worse, it’s hard to distinguish what residents actually saw from what they imagined.

Miriam finds she has to search for the killer while juggling an autistic grandson, a divorced daughter with a tendency to choose the wrong man, her best friend’s overly friendly husband, and a stalker who who leaves her more and more threatening notes. To make matters worse, her rabbi who won’t take no for an answer when it comes to fixing her up.

Miriam, a widow after a disastrous marriage, has given up on love. Just when she is sure that part of her life is over, someone new appears from a very unexpected place.

Murder at the River Bend Retirement Resort is a cozy mystery with a sleuth who has to learn on the job. Despite her best intentions, Miriam makes mistake after mistake and yet moves ever closer to discovering a cold blooded killer who has no remorse.



It really shouldn't surprise me any more that the 'wrinklies' can get up to all sorts of mischief and what not.  After all, with each passing day I grow closer and closer to being one of them, and I have no plans to live the quiet life either.  (I happen to agree wholeheartedly with Miriam, who thinks to herself in the opening pages that, "Fifty-five wasn't senile by any means!" The exclamation point is mine. :O)

I was especially glad to see a character with Asperger's Syndrome (Miriam's grandson, Brian) in the book.  So much of the time, IRL (in real life), mental health issues are swept under the rug or spoken of in whispers as if it is something about which we should be embarrassed, or of which we should be hesitant to speak.  So, Brian has a place in my heart for a couple of reasons.  For one, my oldest son's name is Brian.  Secondly, I worked for about four years with a population of adults who had various mental and developmental disabilities.  And, truth be told, I am a little quick to become annoyed when 'person A' considers herself better than 'person B' (who happens to have any 'disability', is older, is less wealthy, has a different race, religion, ... and feel free to insert your favorite 'less than' comparison here, ...).

It's almost as if people cannot stop themselves from making these comparisons.  Francine (Miriam's daughter), wonders if her middle-aged, widowed mother is capable of taking care of Brian, and thinks it's 'wonderful' that her mother is starting to date again - and boy does she have the wrong end of the stick on that one! *LOL*  When a resident of the retirement center is murdered, some of the investigators wonder how reliable the seniors' memories are of details surrounding the crime.  It's like they're thinking, "Is this person just a little forgetful (they are getting older, you know), or do they have a diagnosis of dementia?"  As if answering with a 'yes' would make the senior 'less' of a person.  Ugh.  Even Miriam wonders if her grandson is 'capable of love'.  None of this is a criticism of the book, just my own personal observations.  Indeed, if anything I give Mr. Schatt extra 'points' for bringing the issues up at all!

Poor Miriam.  She really has it coming at her from all sides in this book.  Her best friend's man is almost as persistent in coming on to Miriam as he is in lying about it.  In addition to that, her rabbi is trying to get her, rather consistently, to go out with an unattached male in the congregation.  I cannot remember off the top of my head if he knows Miriam's husband was *ahem* somewhat casual about his marriage vows while he was alive.  I totally sympathize with Miriam on that point; I was in no hurry (at all!) to get into another exclusive relationship after I sent my first husband packing.  (And just so no one worries about me, I've been happily married to my 2nd (and last) husband for more than 20 years now!  Huzzah!)  There is even an opportunity to bring up questions about inter-faith relationships.

Murder at the River Ben Retirement Resort is an intriguing blend of the crime/mystery and the rest of  Miriam's life.  There is a very pleasant balance between the two factors, when sometimes other mysteries put the majority of the action on one or the other side of the scales.  It is a 'meaty mystery', sure to satisfy even the most voracious readers!



Stan is the author of over 40 books including the Frankie and Josh mysteries. He has published books on career changing, technology, and writers that include Michael Connelly and Daniel Silva.


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(Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.)

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