Sunday, October 25, 2020

The Corpse with the Crystal Skull by Cathy Ace – Book Review

A new book is out in the Cait Morgan Mysteries series by Cathy Ace. I've read 3 out of 8 books in the series, so this is the fourth for me and the ninth in the series.

Book: The Corpse with the Crystal Skull

(Book 9 in the Cait Morgan series)

Author: Cathy Ace

Publication date: 29 June 2020

Publisher: Four Tails Publishing Ltd

Number of pages: 340 pages

ISBN-13: 9781999223069



Welsh Canadian globetrotting sleuth, and professor of criminal psychology, Cait Morgan, is supposed to be “celebrating” her fiftieth birthday in Jamaica with her ex-cop husband Bud Anderson.

But when the body of the luxury estate’s owner is discovered locked inside an inaccessible tower, Cait and her fellow guests must work out who might have killed him – even if his murder seems impossible.

Could the death of the man who hosted parties in the 1960s attended by Ian Fleming and Noël Coward be somehow linked to treasure the legendary Captain Henry Morgan might have buried at the estate? 

Or to the mission Bud and his secret service colleagues have been sent to the island to undertake?

Book Review by Nadaness In Motion

I'm super excited to read another of Cathy Ace's books in the Cait Morgan Mystery series.

This time Ace brings The Corpse with the Crystal Skull, where Cait Morgan and her husband Bud Anderson travel to Jamaica along with 4 of their friends.

It's been a while since I'd read for Ace and this book references some of the events that happened in the previous one, namely The Corpse with the Ruby Lips (which I read in 2016!). I don't remember the events of the last book so I felt a bit disconnected at the beginning.

However, once the mystery began, I was immersed in the book.

The Corpse with the Crystal Skull opens with the three couples in a luxury estate in Jamaica. Cait knows everyone except Charlotte Fortescue "Lottie", who accompanies Bud's friend John.

The trip to Jamaica was meant to be getaway for Cait and Bud for a month. "Then Bud somehow managed to invite Jack and Sheila to join us for a fortnight then he'd also gone and asked John and his 'plus one' to come along for the final week."

During their stay, their host, and estate owner, Freddie Burkinshaw seemingly dies. However, the circumstances surrounding his death seem off to Cait who begins to investigate.

There's something odd about the way Freddie supposedly drops dead. He's shot in the heart in a room locked from the inside within a tower. On his desk rests a crystal skull, the only key to the room is found in Freddie's pocket along with a gun on the floor.

Sounds like a suicide, right?

That's what the police think. But Cait and Bud aren't buying it.

"The crystal skull. That was [Freddie's] most prized possession."

Unbeknownst to Cait, Bud and the other two men are on a secret mission to uncover a historical artefact and destroy it. Cait finally weeds out this information from Bud and joins him in his quest.

As The Corpse with the Crystal Skull progresses, Cait discovers that there were many issues between their friendly host Freddie and other business owners on the island. Chief among them is their nearest neighbor Nina Mazzo.

"Knowing what I do now about the men's mission, their expressions make sense. Sheila's doesn't. I recall that when Amelia broke the news of Freddie's death, Sheila seemed annoyed, not shocked. "Damn it!" she had said. That doesn't seem right."

Also, their friend Sheila seems to be acting strangely in some situations.

There are lots of deceptions in The Corpse with the Crystal Skull from many parties, the good and the bad. This offered tons of suspense and intrigue but also some confusion. Especially when characters like Bud have to talk in code or in indirect messages.

Image via Trip Advisor

As Cait and the group delve deeper into Freddie's life and into the secret operation undertaken by Bud, John, and Jack, secrets emerge about Freddie, who it seems had made many enemies over the years.

"Freddie had a reputation for being able to get things for people. Unusual things. Probably some illegal things. Freddie built a network of contacts and used that to build a network of 'customers.'"

It seemed that many people wanted Freddie dead for different reasons.

One of the things I liked about The Corpse with the Crystal Skull is the references to books and movies, especially Ian Fleming and James Bond. While I watched some of the movies, I've never read any of the books. Maybe I should reconsider?

I enjoy the way Cait and Bud interact with each other, calling each other husband and wife, respectively.

I also loved the conclusion, which sees Cait Morgan ala Agatha Christie, bringing everyone together and slowly making the killer emerge.

Overall rating for The Corpse with the Crystal Skull: 4.5 stars

"Freddie was shot, that's for sure. Straight through the heart. But that's not what's really interesting. What's really interesting is that he'd also been poisoned."


Note: I received a free copy of The Corpse with the Crystal Skull by Cathy Ace from Lori Caswell of Lori Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my review in anyway.


Check out Nadaness In Motion's book reviews of other books in the Cait Morgan mystery series:

The Corpse with the Diamond Hand

The Corpse with the Garnet Face

The Corpse with the Ruby Lips

Add The Corpse with the Crystal Skull on Goodreads.

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