Merryll Manning: Beachfront “Holiday”
John Howard Reid (April 12, 2010)

Merryll returns in Merryll Manning: Beachfront Holiday! However, this one is no vacation as Merryll’s former girlfriend turns up dead in her beachfront condo. He’ll need to be at his best to clear his name and catch a killer in the best Manning mystery yet.

When Susan Alexis Devoro Ford broke off her tumultuous relationship with Manning, he took a leave-of-absence from the Miami Police Department and followed her, first to Atlantic City and then to Australia to try and win her back. He even moved into the same building six floors up from Ford at the Beachfront Condominiums near Sydney. This wasn’t a problem until Ford was strangled and the fact of Merryll’s “following” her instantly put him at the top of the suspects list.

It isn’t long before complications arise, as the murder’s only potential witness, the peculiar Mrs. Erwin, disappears. Despite the fact that local police Inspector Frank Hyland began the case suspecting Merryll, Hyland enlists Merryll to lead up the investigation and teams him up with the hopeless Detective-Sergeant Vic Jarrett.

In truth, Merryll isn’t surprised that Susan was murdered. She had a talent for targeting vulnerable men and using her sexuality to extract whatever she could from them, and when she was finished she dropped them fast…as she had with Merryll. Inspector Hyland dispatches Merryll to Susan’s hometown to piece together her life before she went to America in hopes of flushing out the killer.

Author John Howard Reid treats his fans to a first-rate mystery here. He keeps us guessing until the end and turns up the suspense in the final pages as the killer resorts to a dangerous plan to escape arrest. Merryll’s unconventional behavior, humor, and sarcasm are in classic form when dealing with the inept local cops and the eclectic group of nosy neighbors at the condo. There are no gory crime scenes, pointless violence, or gratuitous sex here. Just enjoyable mystery fiction on every page.

I highly recommend Beachfront Holiday and I look forward to the next in the series: Merryll Manning on the Rim of Heaven.

The Merryll Manning mysteries are a 12-part series originally published between 1985 and 2001.

Available at in print and e-book Kindle.

Reviewed by William Potter. William is the award winning author of Lighting The Dark Side and Dead of Knight. He Reviews for Reader’s Choice Book Reviews.

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