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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Murder Makes Waves: A Cozy Jack and Frances Mystery by Carmen Radtke is the third book in the Jack and Frances Mystery series. Frances Palmer and her fiance Jack are hitting the high seas, taking a cruise ship that brought them to England. Frances was excited about their trip and to visit her soon-to-be mother-in-law, especially knowing her own mother was busy helping Frances's brother and his wife prepare for their next child. Accompanying them on their trip is Frances's Uncle Sal and the three take a job as the ship's entertainment, performing magic tricks for the passengers. Frances loves being out on the water, making new friends, performing magic tricks, and attending a costume ball, but she could do without the tension and jealousy among the passengers. Their trip was certainly not boring, especially when one of the passengers is murdered, which finds Frances and Jack determining which of their new friends are allies and which of the passengers could be a killer.
The story is set in the 1930s which Carmen Radtke has captured through the use of fine details with the characters' mannerisms, dialogue, and clothes. The glamour and society of the 1930s come to life with the cruise setting rooted in the time. Frances and Jack's love story has been explored since book one and now the two are happily engaged, living their life to the fullest. Radtke immerses the story within the society and captures little details from phrases like “frightfully posh” to the costumes the characters choose. The costume ball gave a larger than life air to the setting by allowing the characters to dress up and behave a little goofy before the trip takes a deadly turn. The murder mystery has a locked room feel as the entire story takes place on the ship. This style of mystery creates an added suspense which has Frances and Jack looking among the passengers to see which one of them could be a killer. Radtke has given great heart and attention to the setting, to the characters, and to the mystery. A highly recommended mystery! Murder Makes Waves is a great treat for cozy mystery lovers who enjoy historical settings, cruise murder mysteries, and the glamour of the 1930s.