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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Caribbean Catastrophe by M.K. Scott is the sixth book in The Painted Lady Inn Mysteries. After being dragged along on a cruise vacation, Donna expects it to be a peaceful trip with her friend, but the peace is short lived when her family tags along. This isn't the vacation she had in mind - between her boyfriend missing the ship, having to avoid her mother's friend Heloise's “helpful” comments, and two brothers determined to find wives trying to woo Donna. When one of the passengers falls overboard to his death, Donna can't help but dive into the mystery, taking it upon herself to investigate.
The funnest moments follow Donna as she sneaks around the ship, searching for clues, eavesdropping, and subtly striking up conversations with suspects. She's assertive, independent, and full of life. The friends that tag along have larger than life, big personalities. Her friend, Janice, takes full advantage of the fun of the cruise and prowls after single men, while Heloise, her mother's friend, has a brisk personality and offers often rude comments she deems helpful. Their personalities are well-balanced by Donna and her family who are more grounded.
The side characters are a vast range of peculiar sorts, from the two brothers that insist on finding wives, to the suspects, which include the ex-wife of the dead man who finds glee in his death, and the current widow and her son that don't appear to be grieving. Everyone has a good motive, making each suspect ideal. The isolation of the ship gives Donna ample reason to interrogate suspects in the form of newly found friendships, which are often met with humorous results. M.K. Scott delivers a family trip on the sea in Caribbean Catastrophe, with sleuthing fun, brash friends, a sweet romance, and murder.