Unnatural Causes

Egret's Loft Murder Mysteries Book 1

Fiction - Mystery - Murder
249 Pages
Reviewed on 02/02/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite

Unnatural Causes by T.E. Harkins is the first book in An Egret’s Loft Murder Mystery series. Madeline never thought she would move to Florida until her children decided that she needed a change of location. She finds herself moving into a retirement community (but don’t call it that) named Egret’s Loft where she meets an assortment of zany neighbors. She has a chaotic start when she has to fight the high-tech refrigerator and gets the latest gossip on her neighbors from Carlota, the President of the Board of Directors. But her warm welcome quickly sours when Carlota is found dead and it's soon established that she was murdered. Suddenly, her neighbors seem a lot less friendly, and with a little help from her children, she takes on the role of a sleuth and sets out to find a killer.

The setting comes to life instantly with the qualities that define Egret’s Loft, making it feel like another character in the story. The residents double as suspects, with each one having a colorful personality. Each element that T.E. Harkins incorporates adds quirkiness to the community that drives the tone, such as not being allowed to say 'retirement' or 'old.' The humor will have you rolling from the beginning. The dialogue adds to the cleverness of the humor which pairs well with Madeline’s attitude as she doesn’t take life too seriously and makes solving a murder so much fun. Harkins sets up Madeline’s great voice instantly with a prologue that has her musing (trying to not be melodramatic) as she expresses her thoughts about moving to Florida.

Other important characters include her two kids who are seen throughout as they make various appearances to help her along the way with the mystery while still finding time to bicker. Her late husband Clint doesn’t appear in the story but his influence is apparent throughout as she investigates, following in his footsteps and allowing her to feel closer to him. The story is fast-paced with the plot going directly from Madeline moving into the community to a murder mystery within just a couple of chapters. Unnatural Causes is a clever introduction to the series with an assortment of quirky characters, a delightful setting, and humor that will have you laughing out loud.