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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Poison in Paradise by Melissa Baldwin is part of the Tropical Romantic Mystery series. Lexi Walker is living the dream working for the Epic Cruise Line where she doubles as a lifeguard and coordinator. Their next trip takes them to the Bahamas, a place that should be on everyone's bucket list. Lexi should be living it up in paradise but instead, she's running around the ship trying to catch a killer. Lexi's childhood friend re-enters her life and shakes it up for better and for worse. Josie and her husband Phillip are celebrating their anniversary and Lexi is looking forward to this chance to reconnect with Josie.....until Phillip is found dead in the water. Lexi lands headfirst into her old friend's drama where she uncovers all the secrets Philip kept from his devoted wife. When the blame falls on Josie, Lexi works to prove her innocence while trying to determine if her old friend could actually be capable of murder.
The setting is a literal paradise with a stunning cruise ship and gorgeous destinations which make for thrilling backdrops to addictive mysteries. A closed setting is always fun in a mystery because all the suspects are confined to a single area and you know one of them is the killer. A cruise is a great tool that Melissa Baldwin uses to create the tension of a confined area by trapping the sleuth with the suspects and changing the backdrop by taking the cruise to a variety of exotic places. A variety of relationships in Lexi's cruise life weave around her investigation with the primary one being Josie, which is a fun dynamic as a friendship from her past. The two had a deep friendship when they were children and have reconnected, but the distance between when they last saw each other gives you an opportunity to wonder if Josie could be guilty. The dynamic between Lexi and her handsome boss is riddled with chemistry and banter that adds a touch of romance potential to the story. Poison in Paradise is a delightful cozy mystery with complex characters, family drama, a suspenseful mystery, and is set in a stunning location.