by Sandra A. Morris
Rising Tide Press, 2000
Review by Su Terry on Aug 5th 2002
Are you seeking a lesbian
"cozy" mystery no blood, guts, or gore, just a hint of sex, a lovable
pooch, and lots of food & drink? Then search no more! Sandra A. Morris By the Sea Shore is for you. Finally a
lesbian cozy that even a grandmother could love!
Sandra A. Morris By the Sea Shore takes place predominantly
in Provincetown (or P-town to the locals) with frequent fly-bys to Boston.
Jess Shore, a Toronto based private investigator, has just breezed into town
for a little pre-season R&R at her beach cottage and to get reacquainted
with her ladylove, Dr. Catherine Hobbes. Unfortunately at Bostons Logan
Airport, Jess gets stuck with taxi duty for Jennifer Eastcott, one very uptight
lady, and unbelievably, ends up with her as a houseguest. Shortly after they arrive at P-town, Sydney
Ryan, the proprietor of the Shooting Gallery - a local nightspot, is brutally
attacked. At the crime scene, Jess is attacked by, none other than, Tim Ryan,
Sydneys out-of-sight, out-of-mind, soon-to-be ex-husband. As Sydney struggles
for her life, the entire Ryan clan has descended upon P-town in mock support of
Tim. While Jess tries to find out who is responsible for sending Sydney to the
hospital, the Ryans wreak havoc on unsuspecting P-town. Will Jess succeed
before the Ryans turn the turn into matchsticks?
The characters that populate
Sandra. Morris Provincetown, are truly real characters. Jess Shore is
delightful as the wisecracking PI. (The book is worth reading just for the
wickedly funny tongue in cheek turns of phrases.) Jennifer Eastcott is
well-portrayed as the prissy lawyer whose blue-blood tends to cloud her mind.
Muffin DeWitt, I kid you not on the name, is hilarious as the soon-to-be second
Mrs. Tim Ryan. It is interesting to watch this character morph from her image
as the spoiled rich twit to the strong and intelligent matriarch she will one
day become. (Part of my personal reading pleasure was seeing how many different
ways the author could poke fun at Muffins name.) Tim Ryan clumps through the
book as the scion to the Ryan fortune for whom pumping iron might prove to be
too intellectually challenging. Mrs. Ryan, Tims mom, better known as garbage
mouth is a real hoot after she slam backed a few. MR. Ryan, the over whelmed
family patriarch, is wonderful as the hard as nail businessman who just wants
to spend some quality time with his granddaughter, Sydneys daughter, Harley.
The rest of the neighbors including the ever-present Buster, the clue finding
pooch, add great local color to the story.
There is little if anything
available in print or online about the author Sandra A. Morris. The book blurb
states that she lives in the resort area know as the Beaches in Toronto and
is hard at work on her second Jess Shore mystery. (A book, I for one am
looking forward to reading.)
In conclusion, if you are looking
for a cozy mystery or beach book, this a wonderfully delightful light read. It
has no gore, no sex, but lots of fun characters and snappy dialog that will
have you rolling in the sand laughing your head off. This is the lesbian mystery genre at its best. I highly recommend
© 2002 Su Terry
Su Terry: Education:
B.A. in History from Sacred Heart University, M.L.S. in Library Science from
Southern Connecticut State College, M.R.S. in Religious Studies/Pastoral
Counseling from Fairfield University, a M.Div. in Professional Ministry from
New Brunswick Theological Seminary, a Certificate in Spirituality/Spiritual
Direction from Sacred Heart University. She is a Licensed Minister of the
United Church of Christ and an Assistant Professor in Library Science at
Dowling College, Long Island, NY. Interests in Mental Health: She is interested
in the interplay between psychology, biology, and mysticism. Her current area
of research is in the impact of hormonal fluctuation in female Christian mystics.