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by Sandra Ardoin

What Lies Beneath the Black Water of the Bayou?

Midnight on the Mississippi

Until now, the Mary Ellis books I’ve read were historical and one Amish. With her current release, she’s entered the contemporary mystery genre with the first book of her Secrets of the South Mysteries, Midnight on the Mississippi.

Nicki Price is a newly-minted PI from Mississippi determined to boost her economic circumstances by working for her cousin in his New Orleans private investigative business. She comes from a poor, backwater family in Mississippi, certainly not the type to attract the romantic attention of Hunter Galen, a member of New Orleans’ financial and social royalty.

Hunter is a securities broker suspected of killing his partner. All his life, he’s avoided confrontation, allowing people to do what they want, rather than standing up for his own interests. His growth centers around learning there can be a cost for taking the easy route around a problem.

There’s a cute scene near the beginning where Nicki, wanting to prove her worth and make a name for herself, pushes her way into the death investigation convinced that the rich guy Hunter is guilty. As the story unfolds, we also learn that she seeks the truth behind her father’s death when she was a child. So, we get a second mystery as a subplot. 

As the story proceeded, for me, Nicki grew from a bit of an annoying tagalong out to prove she can play with the big kids into a confident and competent young woman. In the beginning, we see Hunter as the good-looking rich guy from a powerful family. But soon, we see his down-to-earth side.

I’ve never been to New Orleans where the story is set, never really wanted to go, truthfully. However, in this story, we get more of a tour of the historical and G-rated locations than the party sections. Ms. Ellis takes the reader to outlying areas post-Katrina, and gives us a glimpse of a once thriving body, wounded and still recovering. I cringed at the thought of Nicki entering the swamp with its snakes and alligators. **shiver**

There’s a nice twist to the “who-done-it” at the end, though I would have liked to have seen a couple more suspects to choose from. Overall, it’s a quick read and a good start to the series. So if you’re looking to sink into a cozy mystery, check out Midnight on the Mississippi.

Hunter learns he can’t always “go with the flow.” Sometimes, it’s necessary to stand up to someone else. I totally relate to Hunter. Has there been a time when you read a book and the main character’s issues struck a cord with you? Did it prod you into making a change?

Disclosure of Material Connection: This book came to me free from the publisher, Harvest House, with the hope that I would mention it on this blog. There was no requirement for me to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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