What Happened on Beale Street is an exciting addition to the Secrets of the South Mysteries from bestselling author Mary Ellis. These standalone, complex crime dramas follow a private investigator’s quest to make the world a better place…solving one case at a time.
A cryptic plea for help from a childhood friend sends cousins Nate and Nicki Price from New Orleans to Memphis, the home of scrumptious barbecue and soulful blues music. When they arrive at Danny Andre’s last known address, they discover signs of a struggle and a lifestyle not in keeping with the former choirboy they fondly remember.
Danny’s sister, Isabelle, reluctantly accepts their help. She and Nate aren’t on the best of terms due to a complicated past, yet they will have to get beyond that if they want to save Danny.
On top of Danny’s alarming disappearance and his troubled relationship with Isabelle, Nate also has to rein in his favorite cousin’s overzealousness as a new and eager PI. Confronted with a possible murder, mystery, and mayhem in the land of the Delta blues, Nate must rely on his faith and investigative experience to keep one or more of them from getting killed.
Phone calls at two in the morning are never good, and Nicki Price is thrown into a panic by the voice of her old friend on the line. Hours later, Danny’s body is hauled out of a river in Memphis and his death is being called a murder. Meanwhile, Danny’s sister is the victim of an apparent prank at her home. Or is it something more sinister?
Although What Happened on Beale Street is billed as a standalone tale, it becomes evident early on that readers do need to have read the previous title, Midnight on the Mississippi, in order to understand Nicki’s back story. Her fiancé, Hunter, appears frequently in this book and there are references to the events in book one that led to their relationship. Danny’s murder, however, is a brand new case for the Price cousins. Nicki is still impulsive when it comes to tracking down leads, perhaps more so since she’s personally involved, and Nathan has to limit her activities. As a result, Nicki finds herself involved in a 50-year old treasure hunt based around the hotel at which they’re staying. It puts her investigative skills to good use and keeps her mind from dwelling too much on her friend’s death.
After reading two books in Mary Ellis’s contemporary mystery series, I have to say I prefer this second title to the first. It feels more put together, and doesn’t have many of the issues I found with Midnight on the Mississippi. The treasure hunt was entertaining, and a great counter to the seriousness of the murder investigation. The hotel is loosely modeled on The Peabody, an iconic Memphis hotel. Above all, however, Ellis describes each location used in such a way that I can visualize them – even though I’ve never been to Memphis!
Thank you to Harvest House Publishers for my complimentary electronic copy of What Happened on Beale Street, which I downloaded from NetGalley. I was not required to write this review.
Have you read What Happened on Beale Street? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers
Publication Date: 01 April 2016
Page Count: 352