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The Secrets of Cranberry Beach: A Belltown Mystery #2    by Ted M. Murphy order for
Secrets of Cranberry Beach
by Ted M. Murphy
Order:  USA  Can
J. N. Townsend, 2001 (2001)
* *   Reviewed by Anise Hollingshead

Orville Jacques is in it up to his glasses again. Fresh from receiving recognition for his part in solving a string of murders, the sixteen year old is just starting to settle down into his school routine when a visiting lecturer talks about a local murder, unsolved for fifty years - a young nurse disappeared and was found strangled three days later. Since then, several people's lives have been severely affected and the murderer has never been found. Intrigued by this cold case, Orville soon starts digging up information that someone would just as soon keep buried. He suspects that the murderer is still around and taking an active interest in local happenings at Belltown, a suspicion that is all too real.

This is the second in the Belltown mystery series featuring the sixteen year old detective. In the first book, Orville helped bring a local developer to justice for killing several older people who were reluctant to sell their properties. This time, he is presented with an old, unsolved mystery that involves a very close friend. Snooping is in a detective's job description, but Orville goes a little too far this time, and must pay the consequences for breaking a friend's trust. In the previous book, I had a slight concern with some inconsistencies of behavior of the so called good guys. Here, this isn't a problem: the bad guys are very bad, and the good guys are good. Orville's ethics don't seem to be very evolved in this second mystery, but in one episode of snooping, he's caught and has to take severe heat. However, when another opportunity presents itself, Orville breaks into an empty house by smashing the window and justifies it by leaving some money and an unsigned note (with a false explanation). This incident has no consequences for Orville.

The Secrets of Cranberry Beach is an enjoyable mystery, and Orville again regales us with typical teenage cracks about the adults in his world. There is excitement and danger, as Orville has to be alert to stay one step ahead of the murderer. Teens and preteens should enjoy this series.

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