Death by Bikini by Linda Gerber
Published: May 15, 2008 by Puffin
Aphra Behn Connolly has the type of life most teenage girls envy. She lives on a remote tropical island and spends most of her time eavesdropping on the rich and famous. The problem is that her family’s resort allows few opportunities for her to make friends – much less to meet cute boys. So when a smoldering Seth Mulo arrives with his parents, she’s immediately drawn to him. Sure, he’s a little bit guarded, and sure his parents are rather cold, and okay he won’t say a word about his past, but their chemistry is undeniable. Then a famous rock star’s girlfriend turns up dead on the beach – strangled by her own bikini top – and alarm bells sound. Is it too great a coincidence that Seth’s family turned up just one day before a murder? As the plot thickens, Aphra finds that danger lurks behind even the most unexpected of faces…
This is a very short, quick read. The mystery isn’t very complicated, and I felt that the book was more about Aphra and her family. I bought a giant book for $5 with all 3 of the books in this series. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t continue reading this series although I probably would have liked it when I was a bit younger.
Why I love this book:
- number of suspects – Like Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, there are only about 15 people involved in the story, which means the list of suspects is very short. This means Aphra has to reconsider some of the people she has recently met.
- the “Smiths”- Mysterious guests that no one but Aphra’s dad knows about? Suspicious… I won’t ruin the surprise but it turns out some things in Aphra’s life aren’t quite the way she thought they were, and the Smiths may have something to do with that.
- setting – I’d be pretty freaked out if I was stuck on an island with a dead girl and a killer. One storm and you’re stranded with absolutely no access to the mainland. It definitely raises the stakes in a murder mystery.
- murder mystery plot? – It’s painfully clear at times that this was never meant to be a standalone story. The poor dead girl is all but forgotten in favor of Aphra’s family drama. It’s a bit like wait a minute…wasn’t there a murder mystery going on here?
- red herrings – Anyone ever watch A Pup Named Scooby Doo? There was this kid Fred was bullied by named Red Herring. Fred always thought it was Red doing whatever had happened. But as the viewer you knew it was never going to be Red because that was just too simple of an answer (and maybe because the show had only been on for 5 minutes). Well, the same thing applies here, only in book format: the obvious answer is usually the red herring.
- Just like that. No explanation. He stood next to me, calmly sifting through yesterday’s mail as if it were perfectly normal for him to have placed guests in a villa with plastic sheeting for walls and no kitchen floor. – pg. 30
- Inches from my head, a banana leaf jumped and ripped apart. Half a breath later, a bullet splintered the palm trunk beside me. I dropped to the ground once more, the sound of my scream caught in my throat. I swore I could feel the vibration of his footsteps coming nearer. – pg. 152
A short and light read that’s not too concerned with the actual murder victim