Cover Image: BODY ON THE ISLAND

BODY ON THE ISLAND

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Member Reviews

This is the second outing for the Smart family, Ursula with her mother, aunt, and a few other familiar faces following the The Smart Woman’s Guide To Murder. The first story was a book club retreat which went wrong, this one is a survival course on  a remote Scottish island. Which also goes wrong. Similar to the first book, there is some dark humour and a good puzzle mystery to solve. Quite amusing, fairly light-hearted (despite the body count), quirky characters, good sense of place, I enjoyed it.
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I enjoyed Body on the Island by Victoria Dowd, it is not your typical cozy mystery for sure but I liked the humor and the strangeness of the characters.   The descriptions of the locale made me feel the cold and loneliness which added to the enjoyment of reading this book.
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I can't believe I missed this as a pre-release ARC, as I loved the first one in this series, so am very glad I managed to still get my hands on it.

This definitely felt darker than the original, despite that also being a locked room murder. All the themes and symbols are still there, starker than the original if that's possible: storms, discomfort, fear = familial relationships, secrets, personal demons, etc., all put together in a group of disparate people stuck on a remote Hebridean island with a murderer: no phones, no food, no way off, three dead bodies...

The dark humour is there, as is Aunt Charlotte, who is brilliantly obtuse and the more brightly-humourous character of the group. When they finally make it back to the mainland, Pandora & Ursula sit down for a serious and long-overdue conversation about her father, leaving another potential mystery to unravel in the future.

Thanks to stupid o'clock wakeups, I finished this reasonably quickly and will pay closer attention so that I don't miss No 3. This is a terrific series and has beautifully hidden clues throughout.
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Well after reading the first one I wasn't looking forward to this one. I don't like the family they are too toxic and seem to hate each other. I don't get the mystery and who did it seems a little desperate in the end. I hated how they treat Spear through out. They were all shady through out the whole book.
Kemp just turning up was shady. the house they found was good though it added to the creepy scary feel.
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ARC provided by NetGalley for Honest Review
2.5 Stars
Unfortunately this book did not work for me. In fact it muddled my brain and the choppy writing kept me confused from the start. I don’t think this has to do with me not reading book one either, the book and I just did not get along. The heroine/narrator’s thoughts are all over the place and her and her family rather than going to a survival course needed badly to go to therapy. Honestly I found them all pretty annoying and their constant squabbling only made me dislike them more. The solving of the crime was also the cheesiest part of the book since they literally go down the list and blame everyone until of course they finally come to the last possible choice. 🤦🏽‍♀️ And even then the climax was kind blah. I mean it had nothing to even do with the heroine and her family which makes me think they just have the worst kinds of luck having just survived being in a murder house from book one. Really it was the authors writing style that kept me so disconnected from the book. It was extremely hard to focus when the narrator was constantly changing topics and more. Did have some old school cozy mystery vibes so I’m sure some will enjoy this, sadly I did not.
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BODY ON THE ISLAND by Victoria Dowd.  Mystery was convoluted and hard to unravel.  Too many obnoxious characters and too much caustic dialogue though at times there was a sting of dark humor.  Was wishing the murderous dog would live up to his name.  

Thank you to the publisher, author, and NetGalley for the opportunity to preview the book.
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This one felt easier to read than the first, although the mystery was a little more confusing and hard to untangle. I did like the family and their quibbling and spats a little more. I loved the murderous dog more this time, as he seemed to be available to lap up anything that was red! 

I found the complete turn around on the stance of the dad surprising. I liked the possible surprise at the end and the hint that there might be something more there. I thought the mom was a little nicer and mellow this go round and I did chuckle a few times. I'll look for book 3, I'm sure, and keep reading this series, just to see where it goes from here!
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Body on the island by Victoria Dowd. 
Smart woman's mystery book 2.
I really enjoyed this book.  I had no clue who the killer was. Although I did have my suspects. But I was completely wrong. I do hope there is more to come as I do like Ursula Bridgett Pandora Charlotte and Mirabelle.  The clues were there it just didn't click until the author wanted us to know. 5*.
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Look Death In The Eye....
Book two in the Smart Woman’s Mystery series finds Ursula Smart heading, along with dysfunctional family members, to Scotland for another potentially disastrous weekend break. Bouncing from one situation to another, hurdles are numerous, as the group face murder and mayhem and look death in the eye. Agatha Christie this is not but it’s a whole lot of fun and an enjoyable, escapist read.
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Victoria Dowd returns with a sequel to The Smart Woman's Guide To Murder, a series with echoes of the golden age of crime.  After previous events in the first book, a troubled and traumatised Ursula Smart is not feeling that therapy is sufficient in the survival game, so looks for and finds a survival course in Northern Scotlands that she books herself on, along with her mother, Pandora, and Aunts Mirabelle, Charlotte and Bridget, although they are less keen on the idea.  In the Outer Hebrides, the women find themselves facing a series of challenges, on a capsizing boat, on an uninhabited island of magic, starving and freezing.  However, matters take a turn for the considerably worse, as murders start occuring and they have to fight an all too real battle for survival.  This is a darkly humorous read of twists, turns and secrets, a murder mystery that entertains.  Many thanks to Joffe Books for an ARC.
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Synopsis:

Ursula Smart is determined to make some life changes.  She signs up herself, her mother, and her aunts Charlotte, Mirabelle and Bridget for a survival course.  This is not her family’s idea of a vacation but they humour her.  She’s promised a calm weekend of camping in the Outer Hebrides, which quickly descends into a battle for her life.  The boat that her and her family are in capsizes, and they wash up on an uninhabited island.   Bodies start to pile up as someone is killing them one by one.  Will Ursula escape, or will she be next?

My review:

Victoria Dowd has composed a thrilling, classic “whodunit” story reminiscent of Agatha Christie, but with a modern, fun touch.  When I first started this novel, I thought that, based on the first chapter, that it would be slow.  However, after that first chapter, I was instantly catapulted into the drama and could NOT put it down.  I’m usually pretty good at figuring out, well, who did it, when reading a mystery/thriller, but this one threw me for a loop! I wasn’t even close.  This book really was a breath of fresh air – exactly what I needed.   I will definitely be picking up more of Ms. Dowd’s works.

Thank you to Net Galley, Victoria Dowd, and Joffe Books for the opportunity to review this ARC.  This review and all opinions are my own.
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‘Body On The Island’ by Victoria Dowd is the second instalment in the Smart Woman’s Mystery Series. Having been introduced to this series from the first book and thoroughly loving it, I was really happy when I discovered this book was out and we were getting a tour too!

Ursula, after what happened in the previous book has decided to be more like a Scout…and be prepared. She books the family onto a Survival training weekend in the North of Scotland and as you can imagine, nothing goes as planned! We have , again Ursula, her mother Pandora (pseudo names remember), her fantasically vague Aunt Charlotte and her mothers best friend, Mirabelle, the one who sticks up for her mother no matter what. The odd ball gang arrive and ,lucky them Bridget is waiting…the gang is all together! The place looks bleak and they don’t know this is going to be a Survival weekend to top all of them and not all will even survive!

This series is a clever one, a light hearted mystery with a touch of dark humour ,which had me chuckling all the way! Victoria has created a set of brilliant characters that are memorable in their own comedic way.


I do hope Victoria is writing more of this series and soon. A story I could well imagine on the stage or TV.

Thank you to Joffe Books and NetGalley for the copy of the book.
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If you take the classic who done it premise and add sardonic humor you get this book! If you're in the mood for an excellent mystery and wit to boot you will definitely enjoy this book. Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for this Arc and exchange for an honest review.
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The 'Smart' Women are back.

Ursula books them all on a survival course.  The rest of the family are not impressed.  It is not their idea of a vacation and as the story progresses it isn't Ursula's either.

Then they get shipwrecked and end up on an Island with a murderer.

It was lovely to meet up with these unique characters once more.  The humour and originality each bring to the story makes for a gripping read.

The suspense builds from the very first page and as the story progresses we learn that people are not what they seem.  All appear to have secrets and that makes for a large helping of intrigue.

A very gripping read culminating in an ending that is totally unexpected.

I am looking forward to more books from Victoria.
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Good stuff. This has great characters and an engaging plot. It also has some nice twists, and it is very well written, with an enjoyable style. Recommended.

I really appreciate the review copy!!
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I read, reviewed and really enjoyed the first book in the ‘Smart Woman’s Mystery’ series, which was called ‘The Smart Woman’s Guide To Murder’.  When I heard that Victoria was due to release a second book in the series I knew that I just had to read it as soon as I could.  Well ladies and gents, the wait is over as ‘Body On The Island’ was released on 23rd February 2021.  It is another corker of a read, which I thoroughly enjoyed reading but more about that in a bit.
It’s no word of a lie when I say that I became addicted to this story from the moment I clapped eyes on the synopsis.  As soon as I started to read that was it- I knew that I would find it extremely difficult to put the book to one side.  I think part of the attraction of the book was the fact that the characters were a wacky bunch.  My Kindle wasn’t exactly glued to my hand but it might as well have been because it travelled everywhere with me.  I didn’t want to miss a second of the story.  I became so wrapped up in the story that I lost all track of time and just how quickly the pages were turning.  All too soon, I reached the end of the story and I had to say farewell to the crazy bunch.
‘Body On The Island’ is extremely well written.  Victoria certainly knows how to grab your attention and draw you into the story.  I particularly liked the fact that Victoria combines the drama with some pretty dark humour, which I found refreshing.  I found that I kept chuckling away to myself practically all the way through the book.  Reading ‘Body On The Island’ was like being on an unpredictable rollercoaster ride with a fair few twists and turns along the way.  I found ‘Body On The Island’ to be a thoroughly enjoyable read, which kept my attention throughout and it certainly kept me guessing.
In short, I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Body On The Island’ and I would recommend this book to other readers.  I will certainly be reading more of Victoria’s work in the future.  The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a very well deserved 5* out of 5*.
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"Lies can find a way through the smallest of cracks and when they do, they take root."

Body on the Island is a deliciously witty and gruesome whodunnit which will entertain and engross you to no end. From the beginning to the end i couldn't stop chuckling and biting my nails at the same time.

They are called the Slaughter House five, but they have dubbed themselves the Smart Women. 
Now they have signed up for a survival course in the Outer Hebrides to better their survival skills. 

What could possibly go wrong?

On their way to their destination their boat capsizes and they find themselves on an abandoned island.
An island of the faeries and witches. An island more for the ghosts than the living.
In the middle of which there is a deserted house, an old burying ground and a dilapidated Chapel.

"There be monsters here."

Then the bodies start piling up.

Thanks to the author, Joffe Books and the NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the book.
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Ever since I had the pleasure of reading book one, The Smart Woman’s Guide To Murder, I have been looking forward to meeting this fabulous family of quirky characters again and I most certainly was not disappointed!! After their terrible ordeal in the aptly nicknamed Slaughter House, Ursula decides they need to toughen up a bit and so she books a family survival course on an island in the Hebrides. The trip is arranged for Ursula and her mother, snippy snobby Pandora, (pseudo-names we understand) together with Ursula's wonderfully confused and vague Aunt Charlotte, and Mirabelle, Mother's large best friend who clings to Mother like a limpet and staunchly defends her against everyone, Ursula in particular. At least the book club has been disbanded (after all, there were five deaths last time they met) so thank goodness they won’t have to put up with the highly irritating Bridget and her yappy dog Mr Bojangles this time. What they don’t realise is that, very soon, they will find themselves shipwrecked and most of the group will not survive! The party lands at Stornoway on Lewis and they travel onto the Isle of Harris. It all looks a bit bleak outside as the bus takes them onto their final destination which looks even bleaker. Much to their dismay, they find Bridget and dog waiting for them, determined not to be left out. This will definitely be a survival course in more ways than one!! The first day is bad enough, culminating with the demise of Mr Flopsy, and the following morning they board the boat taking them to their new home for the next week. Together with the captain and cabin boy, and instructors Spear and Nell, also on board are a couple of vloggers, Ryan and Jess, and a strange young man called Angel. Not a great omen, considering what happened to the last Angels this little group encountered! There’s a storm brewing too. The boat capsizes and the survivors are washed up on an uninhabited island. Not everyone makes it and the body count starts to grow as they are murdered one by one. It’s up to the Smart women to find the killer in this marvellous take on a locked room murder mystery, reminiscent of the wonderful Agatha Christie books of yesteryear.
There is oodles of superb wit and deliciously dark humour throughout this book, in fact I’m still thinking about Sir Nigel Havers’ plums! The characters are all somewhat larger than life, giving it a great feel of comedy and I would love to see these books being brought to life on television, such were the fantastic descriptions of the people in it. The scene is set and the main players introduced before the plot commences and the killings begin, and the reader is gently led through a cleverly written trail of clues and red herrings to a super and satisfying conclusion. This is an excellent modern twist on the old classic style and I sincerely hope there are many more to enjoy! 5*
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Ursula Smart is back with her mother, aunt, and a few other familiar faces after surviving a book club retreat gone wrong in The Smart Woman’s Guide To Murder. 

“People died in a variety of gruesome ways. Book club stopped after that...Perhaps ours ended in a more dramatic fashion than most but you’d be surprised the tales people now tell me about their book clubs.”

The slaughter house left many for dead, and now Ursula has nightmares. She decides survival skills are just what she, her mother, and aunt need, and signs them up for a lovely weekend of foraging and camping in the forest...and learning how to survive. Unfortunately, others members of the ex-book club are taking the trip as well. 

What’s even more unfortunate is that the boat they are on capsizes. They end up on a desolate island with no food, no WI-FI, and bodies dropping like flies. 

I enjoyed the first book in the series (solid 3 stars, maybe 3.5). While it wasn’t groundbreaking, it had some biting dialogue, laughs, and some nice “locked-room” vibes. 

There are things I enjoyed about this one too. The biting dialogue is still present, and the setup is very intriguing. However, I started losing interest in the second half as things became complicated (maybe convoluted). The new characters were odd and not too enjoyable, but they were necessary to add to the body count and suspect list. 

By the time all was revealed, I was over it. 

And yet, I’m glad to have read this. I needed something amusing and on the lighter side to reset my reading batteries. While I’m not sure I will continue the series, I can appreciate the subtle entertainment it provides. I also chuckled at a few nuggets like this one:

“Mother...doesn’t like surprises, not since Dad bought her a Segway for her fiftieth instead of a Steinway. She doesn’t play the piano but an interior designer friend had said they were that season’s must-have photo shelf. Mother doesn’t have any photos either and didn’t warm to my suggestion that she could maybe take a few shots while she was touring around on her Segway.”

2.5 stars. Available now. 

TW: Poor rabbit. You can skip Kindle location 849 (14%) without missing anything...although there are a few brief references to this scene. 

Thank you to Joffe Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Review also posted at: https://bonkersforthebooks.wordpress.com
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In a greatly over-crowded genre Victoria Dowd's talent shines like the brightest star in the night sky. Filled with the tropes of a century's worth of great crime novels Victoria has still permeates every page with a sparkling originality.
If you thought the Addams family were a bit strange wait till you meet the Smart women. The dark humour is delivered with aplomb.
An outstanding novel, right up there with the very best of anything by Agatha Christie.
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