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Independence Slay
A Celebration Bay Mystery #3
Shelley Freydont

Berkley Prime Crime
June 2014 / ISBN 0425252566
Mystery - cozy / Holiday: Fourth of July

Reviewed by Cheryl Green


Liv Montgomery thought her biggest problem the night of the Fourth of July fireworks and historical reenactment would be the pesky mosquitoes. She is the event coordinator for the town of Celebration Bay in upstate New York. Celebration Bay is considered a destination town and relies on tourists for most of its revenue. Right now Liv and Ted Driscoll, her assistant, are making sure all is in readiness for the Independence Day fireworks and Battle of the Bay reenactment. A descendant of Henry Gallantine - who happens to have the same name, uses a lantern (LED light) to signal the townsfolk that the British ships are in the harbor. He does this from the roof of his mansion. The re-enactors are shown driving away the British ships. Then there are the fireworks and everyone leaves the festivities in good spirits.

All went well until the fireworks start and Ted notices the signal on the Gallantine roof. Someone is signaling SOS. Liv and Ted take off towards the Gallantine mansion and bring AK Pierce (head of security for the event) with them. Finally, Hildy the housekeeper opens the door and the three take off to the third floor to get on the roof. The pull-down stairs take them right up to the roof. AK slowly shines his flashlight around the roof. He soon sees something on the ground. It is Jacob Rundle, the Gallantine gardener; he has a big hole in his stomach. They hear a noise and find Leo (a teenager who has been helping with the clean-up) crouching on the roof. He is holding a musket with a bloody bayonet. He says the ghost hurt Mr. Rundle and was after him too. Liv had better be careful looking for the murderer or she could end up spooked.

Things to ponder: Who plays the part of the "official" Celebration Bay ghost? Why did Chaz Bristow leave town? Where did Henry Galantine go after he signaled the British ships were coming? Is someone stealing Gallantine valuables?

I enjoyed this book. This series just keeps getting better with each new addition. I like the cast of characters - especially the ones that are a little quirky. Liv, our protagonist is smart, feisty and sure of herself. Once she decides something, she will give her all to prove she is right. There are enough red herrings to keep you guessing whodunit. The story is well-plotted and the pace kept me turning those pages. So if you like a mystery that is patriotic, then you should be reading Independence Slay.

Reviewed 2014