This year, I’m taking part in the “Around The World In 80 Books Challenge,” and Murder At The Mayan Temple by Mary Jane Mandrake is book #1 for me. I chose this one because next week, I’m going on a cruise to Cozumel, and nothing gets me in the travel spirit more than reading a good story set in the destination I’m headed! Even better, the novella was set at the Mayan Ruins of Tulum, a tour I took on a previous cruise in 2015.
The story is a cozy mystery where the lead character, Kitty, works as a tour guide and translator for the deaf on cruises/tours. I don’t read a lot of cozy mysteries, so my “figuring out who the killer skills” aren’t very sharp, which had me riveted to the plot. On Kitty’s tour, the group stayed overnight on land at a local hotel so they could visit more of the historic sites; overnight land excursions are becoming a more common on cruises. At dinner on land the first night, a husband and wife archeologist team on Kitty’s tour showed the group an artifact they were scheduled to take to a museum curator the next day. The Mayan knife was the culmination of their life’s work and worth 10 million dollars. Instead, the next morning, the couple discovered their artifact stolen. Not only was it stolen, but plunged into the heart of one of the other group members, sacrificed on top of the altar at Tulum! With a killer in their midst and a hurricane on the way, Kitty and her group are ushered to the American Embassy where they have to wait out the storm, and a complicated murder investigation.
In 2015, I went on my first cruise to Cozumel and took a shore excursion to Tulum with my sister. It was very fun and reading Kitty’s story brought back good memories. (Of course, the most exciting thing that happened on our trip was finding a live bird in the tour bus! lol!) Anyway, a little history we learned about Tulum on our trip was that it was the only Mayan Ruin built on the beach – and that beach played a big part in this story!
Conclusion: I loved this mystery! With only 146 pages, it was short, but well written. I couldn’t figure out who the killer was until it was revealed in the story line – and I liked that! In addition, I loved how the cruise and Mayan Ruins of Tulum came into the story. I love reading about places I’ve been, and this is the first “cruise ship” story that I’ve read and really enjoyed. And when I say that, I mean I would pay to read the rest of the series! If you’ve been on a cruise and are looking for a good story to either follow up, or, get you in the mood for your trip, I’d recommend Murder At The Mayan Temple! Especially If Cozumel is on your itinerary! You’ll love it!
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