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BOAT DOLLIES
by Joyce Holland
Deadly Alibi Press, January 2000
206 pages
$17.99
ISBN: 1886199051


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Boat Dollies, of the title, is a derogatory term applied to a bevy of young, usually free-spirited, women, who hang around various good-weather sailing meccas. You can usually find them in the Caribbean, along the Mediterranean, and in some Australian ports. They hire themselves out as crew to passing yacht skippers. They are frequently good sailors and they'll clean, handle the boat, cook and do other general work. Some of the women are working their way around the world, others are traveling cheaply to particular destinations. Some are runaways and most are ordinary citizens who have chosen this itinerant sailing world as their life style, at least for a while. Unfortunately, drugs, unwanted sex, alcoholism and other worldly ills may become part of the picture.

In the sailing world are boat owners, charterers, and those called-live-aboards, people who for a variety of reasons, have left their lives ashore for the world of the sea, of the wind, the waves, the storms and the calms. Author Joyce Holland has mined this world well, a world she obviously has carefully researched, to pen this well-crafted story of murder and intrigue in the Caribbean.

Sally and Peter Malone, a married live-aboard coupe have sailed into a marina on the shore of a Caribbean island. Fleeing their troubled life ashore, they find themselves emeshed in the mystery surrounding the murder of a boat dolly named Rita. Rita, it turns out, has left a diary. Finding and reading the diary, in the hopes of learning who murdered the girl, becomes a main focus of the novel..

The descriptions of life in the marina and on the beach are tempting, accurate and for the most part compelling. Author Holland weaves a good story with a satisfying crop of tension filled scenes and if the book is a bit episodic, if you are interested in mystery fiction, sailing, and a good look inside an exotic and intriguing world, Boat Dollies is a rewarding mystery.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, March 2003

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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