Monday, August 16, 2021

Book Review: Closely Harbored Secrets by Bree Baker

Closely Harbored Secrets (Seaside Café Mystery, #5)Closely Harbored Secrets (Seaside Cafe Mystery #5). Bree Baker. Poisoned Pen Press (2020). 352 pages.  Genre: Cozy Mystery. 

First Line: "I waved goodbye to my last customer of the evening, then set the CLOSED sign in the window at Sun, Sand, and Tea, my seaside cafe and iced tea shop."

Summary:  It's fall in Charm, North Carolina and the town is preparing for the annual ghost walk.  There are lots of legends about the town and every fall all the best stories are told accompanied by actors in costume.  Everly Swan is providing the refreshments and her aunts are involved in the story telling.  As if the event isn’t creepy enough, one of the actors is found dead on the beach.  And, of course, Everly discovers the body. 

My thoughts: Reading one of the Seaside Cafe Mysteries is like visiting old friends. And best of all I always end my time with a smile on my face.

As usual, Everly is providing food and drinks for any activity that is going on. In this case, it is the annual ghost walk. It has become quite an event that people from other towns attend. Several actors dress up as figures from the legends. One of them is Mourning Mabel who was allegedly beheaded by a sailor who had fallen in love with her. Dixie Wetherill is wearing the costume this year and unfortunately, Dixie is the one who winds up murdered. Everly had never met her, but she is the one who discovered her lifeless body on the beach and ended up with her blood on her hands.

The mystery involves historical artifacts, family trees and secret rooms which makes it quite interesting. Everly mostly stays out of it, but when she begins receiving threats, it is difficult. However, she learns a little more about her own family's story in the course of the investigation.

There is a secondary storyline that was carried over from the previous book involving the election for mayor. Everly's aunt Fran is running against two other opponents and this adds a bit of tension to the story.

All of the supporting characters are back as well including Denise who now works at Sun, Sand and Tea, Wyatt, Grady, Denver, Amelia and Everly's aunts. Matt, a local paramedic, is a new character who plays a pretty big role in this book. And there is a bit of a twist in Everly's personal life.

I thought the author did a good job portraying Everly in this installment. This is the fifth murder victim she has discovered in a short amount of time and it is wearing on her. She seems more frazzled and less cheerful than normal and I think that is realistic.

All in all, this was a great addition to the series. As I said earlier, I finished the book with a smile on my face.


  1. Great review! I've been reading this series and I like it too.

  2. "Reading one of the Seaside Cafe Mysteries is like visiting old friends. And best of all I always end my time with a smile on my face."

    I can't think of any higher praise.