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by Gabby Allan
Kensington Books, July 1970
304 pages
ISBN: 1496731069

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

MUCH ADO ABOUT NAUTICALING introduces a new series, Whit and Whiskers Mysteries, featuring Whitney Dagner and her cat Whiskers as reluctant sleuths on Santa Catalina Island.

Whit and her brother, Nick, operate glass-bottom boat tours, as they just assumed management of the family business, Nautically Yours. After hosting a celebratory cruise for Jules Tisdale, Santa Catalina's Man of the Year, and getting the Sea Bounder ready for the next day's tours, the two spot a body as the current pushes it under the glass bottom. Police retrieve the body and identify it as Tisdale's.

Nick becomes the top suspect as witnesses recall his fistfight with the deceased. And Nick makes matters worse by running away. Whit tries to locate Nick but has no luck. She also finds long lines waiting for the glass bottom boat tours--lots of morbidly curious folks.

The plot thickens when Felix Ramirez shows up as a driver for the local police department. Felix wants to know why Whit suddenly moved and ended their romantic relationship without explanation.

Whit finally gets down to business when her grandmother, Goldy, and grandfather, Pops, insist she must find Nick and figure out who murdered Jules. Whit's roommate, Maribel, who works as the police dispatcher, and Felix, decide to work with Whit to uncover other suspects.

This first effort from Gabby Allan shows promise. The author builds a good mystery with appropriate red herrings and a few twists. The primary characters are appealing, but Whiskers does not play a meaningful role in the story. Maybe the next entry will pick up the pace.

Ruth Castleberry has worked as an investigator for Pinkerton's, a city desk assistant on the Charlotte News, free-lance writer, marketing/business strategy consultant, competitive intelligence practitioner and digital marketing consultant.

Reviewed by Ruth Castleberry, June 1990

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