Why Me? Chimeras, Conundrums and Dead Goldfish

Fiction - Mystery - Murder
257 Pages
Reviewed on 02/04/2020
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Author Biography

In a world filled with uncertainty and too little chocolate, I’ve taught college courses in communication, gone commercial salmon fishing in Alaska, and enjoyed time spent in the business world as an organizational development consultant. My current passion is for writing lighthearted mysteries with a pinch of adventure and a dollop of humor.

Having lived on boats for a number of years, I wanted to use the marina community as a centerpiece for a series. That’s why my main character in Why Me? Chimeras, Conundrums and Dead Goldfish lives on her sailboat in a small, urban marina.

Although I’m currently a landlubber, I live on an island with a view of the water. When I’m not writing, I enjoy watching herons, eagles, seals and other sea life from my home office.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite

Why Me? Chimeras, Conundrums and Dead Goldfish by Charlotte Stuart has an unusual title and an equally unusual and interesting murder/mystery to go along with it. Bryn, an attractive, young, single, successful consultant from Seattle is enjoying her dream holiday of hiking the highland trails of Scotland (alone, unfortunately, as her best friend Sophie pulled out at the last minute over a man, no less). The hiking is not going well, beset by bad weather and attacking midges that seem to single Bryn out for special treatment. She is feeling pretty miserable when she spots what looks like a body at the bottom of a ravine. After climbing down to check it out, she realizes the man is dead. Feeling spooked, she heads back to the car park and calls Mountain Rescue for help. When they arrive back at the spot Bryn takes them to, the body has disappeared and she knows nobody in the rescue team actually believes that she saw it or if she did, the man clearly wasn’t dead. When Bryn returns home to her sailboat (that she lives on) in Seattle, the mystery of the “dead” scientist - who coincidentally also comes from Seattle - just won’t leave her alone. She finds herself caught up in a life and death struggle revolving around the cutting-edge research of gene manipulation and attempts to grow human organs.

The unusual title was certainly what attracted me to the book in the first place. I’m glad it did, as Charlotte Stuart has presented an exceptionally good and readable murder/mystery with enough twists to keep a reader interested. The characters are realistic and I especially was drawn to Logan, Bryn’s best male friend who was always there for her and always prepared to put himself in danger for his best friend. Of course, it was the great big cat with the famous name Macavity that stole the show but the full character list all had something worthwhile to add to the narrative. The plot twisted and turned significantly throughout the story which allowed the reader to make his/her own judgments about who may be the guilty perpetrator of the crime and that’s always the sign of a good murder/mystery author. This is not an author I’ve come across before but this book was so eminently readable with a coherent, flowing style that she is someone I will definitely be watching out for in the future. I suspect Stuart has an excellent “amateur sleuth” character here that she could build an entire series around. I can highly recommend Why Me? Chimeras, Conundrums and Dead Goldfish for those of us who like easy to read, straightforward murder/mystery. This is a very relaxing read.

Deborah Lloyd

Bryn Baczek was left with no choice but to travel alone to Scotland when her best friend Sophie canceled at the last minute. Following the itinerary, she was hiking alone on a treacherous trail in the rain when she found a dead body. She found a business card in the man's backpack; his name was Jared Blaine. Coincidentally, he was also from her hometown, Seattle. However, when the Mountain Rescue Team arrived, the body was gone. The mystery became more convoluted, and Bryn’s life was in danger upon her return home. Jared was a scientist working on a controversial topic, chimera research – the growing of human organs in animals. Although the police were involved in the case, Bryn and her friends, Sophie, Logan, and Judd, did some of their own investigative work. In Why Me? Chimeras, Conundrums and Dead Goldfish, written by Charlotte Stuart, a thrilling adventure unfolds.

This book is a page-turner, and I found it difficult to put it down once I started reading. The story is fast-paced, with a great deal of information imparted. There are several possible suspects, adding to the intrigue. The author also adds “fun” elements to the story – such as Bryn living on a sailboat in a Seattle marina, the relationship with her mother, and her temperamental cat, Macavity. There are many twists and turns in the story, and Jared’s murderer is not revealed until the end of the book. Author Charlotte Stuart has written an engaging and entertaining murder mystery in Why Me? Chimeras, Conundrums and Dead Goldfish. An enjoyable read!

K.C. Finn

Why Me? Chimeras, Conundrums and Dead Goldfish is a work of murder mystery with quirky themes and fun ideas and was penned by author Charlotte Stuart. The action centers around consultant Bryn Baczek, an outdoorsy lass who lives on a sailboat with her adorably grumpy cat Macavity. When Bryn stumbles upon a body, and that body is ransacked for an important laptop whilst she’s busy informing the police, the finger of suspicion falls upon her. Not only this, but her search for the real killer may see her becoming its next target if she and her companions, Logan and Judd, can’t unravel what the chimera has to do with it all.

Fans of the classic cozy mystery genre are sure to adore the work of author Charlotte Stuart, whose quintessentially quirky cast and premise already set the story up as a winner from the start. One thing that I particularly liked was the dialogue, which characterizes Bryn and her friends really well right away, and is written with a charming authenticity that engenders relatability with the audience. With this in place, the action heats up in a twisty and satisfying plot line, with plenty of surprises and the ‘a-ha’ moments that you would expect from a really great mystery of this genre. When the danger rises, there are some genuine moments of tension that hit home, making for a great balance between the fun and the dangerous elements of the tale. Overall, Why Me? Chimeras, Conundrums and Dead Goldfish is a truly satisfying read for mystery fans everywhere.