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Murder at the Mayan Temple

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Introducing the intriguing new cozy mystery series starring Starling and Swift! Kitty Swift travels around the sunny Yucatan peninsula assisting luxury cruise ship groups as an interpreter for the deaf. After a disastrous broken engagement, she's perfectly content to spend her days with her service dog, Chica, and a motley crew of wealthy vacationers. Her life involv Introducing the intriguing new cozy mystery series starring Starling and Swift! Kitty Swift travels around the sunny Yucatan peninsula assisting luxury cruise ship groups as an interpreter for the deaf. After a disastrous broken engagement, she's perfectly content to spend her days with her service dog, Chica, and a motley crew of wealthy vacationers. Her life involves playing Bingo, enjoying the chocolate fountain, and passing along the occasional complaint about the quality of the bed sheets. On a cruise ship the food is good, the music is lively, and everyone is friendly. Life is quiet, just as it should be... until murder arrives in the night. At the top of a Mayan pyramid in the humid Amazon jungle, one of her tour group is found sacrificed to the gods. A clue left at the scene makes it clear this is a deeply personal act of revenge― and the killer may have another victim in his sights. As the entire tour group is brought in for questioning, Kitty and Chica find themselves in a race against time. A hurricane is bearing down on the city, the cruise ship is set to depart, and they’re sequestered in an embassy house with a vicious murderer. The only person standing in her way is an enigmatic attaché to the American embassy who doesn't take kindly to all her questions― especially about himself. Should Kitty be on guard against the mysterious and strikingly handsome detective, or are they birds of a feather in search of a killer? A cozy mystery with recipes!


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Introducing the intriguing new cozy mystery series starring Starling and Swift! Kitty Swift travels around the sunny Yucatan peninsula assisting luxury cruise ship groups as an interpreter for the deaf. After a disastrous broken engagement, she's perfectly content to spend her days with her service dog, Chica, and a motley crew of wealthy vacationers. Her life involv Introducing the intriguing new cozy mystery series starring Starling and Swift! Kitty Swift travels around the sunny Yucatan peninsula assisting luxury cruise ship groups as an interpreter for the deaf. After a disastrous broken engagement, she's perfectly content to spend her days with her service dog, Chica, and a motley crew of wealthy vacationers. Her life involves playing Bingo, enjoying the chocolate fountain, and passing along the occasional complaint about the quality of the bed sheets. On a cruise ship the food is good, the music is lively, and everyone is friendly. Life is quiet, just as it should be... until murder arrives in the night. At the top of a Mayan pyramid in the humid Amazon jungle, one of her tour group is found sacrificed to the gods. A clue left at the scene makes it clear this is a deeply personal act of revenge― and the killer may have another victim in his sights. As the entire tour group is brought in for questioning, Kitty and Chica find themselves in a race against time. A hurricane is bearing down on the city, the cruise ship is set to depart, and they’re sequestered in an embassy house with a vicious murderer. The only person standing in her way is an enigmatic attaché to the American embassy who doesn't take kindly to all her questions― especially about himself. Should Kitty be on guard against the mysterious and strikingly handsome detective, or are they birds of a feather in search of a killer? A cozy mystery with recipes!

30 review for Murder at the Mayan Temple

  1. 4 out of 5

    Moondance

    "Do you always play Bingo with such passion? Kitty Swift works for a cruise line as an interpreter for the deaf. She, along with her dog, Chica enjoy the amenities of luxury cruising while assisting passengers. Kitty kicks into sleuth mode after an obnoxious passenger from her group is found murdered at the ruins of Tulum with an ancient artifact. This was an interesting book that left me with a lot of questions. I felt that there should have been a prequel or something that gave me a little more "Do you always play Bingo with such passion? Kitty Swift works for a cruise line as an interpreter for the deaf. She, along with her dog, Chica enjoy the amenities of luxury cruising while assisting passengers. Kitty kicks into sleuth mode after an obnoxious passenger from her group is found murdered at the ruins of Tulum with an ancient artifact. This was an interesting book that left me with a lot of questions. I felt that there should have been a prequel or something that gave me a little more information about Kitty. The American Embassy attache, Leander Estomell was a bit of a puzzle as well. The two worked well together to catch the murderer. The various characters were almost caricatures. The wealthy ninety year old woman with a new husband sixty years her younger was a bit much. The setting of Tulum was nicely done. Having been to the ruins made the descriptions more meaningful. The murderer and the reason behind the murder were fairly obvious. The book needed better editing and spellcheck. A pleasant read although I don't know that I would continue with the series.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sandee

    I enjoyed this book. A tour guide leading a group of deaf people and their families, friends and assistance dogs on a cruise to a Mayan temple. When murder ensues, a hurricane arrives and complicates all their lives. Good mystery, likeable characters and an interesting plot.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Connie

    This book was just okay for me. The book was way too predictable for me when a character reveals something in such a way that left me no longer guessing to "who done it". I love a cozy mystery that keeps me guessing right up to the end. The sad thing is, up to that point I was very into the book. The writing was good, and I enjoyed the descriptions of what all they were seeing on their cruise. All that said I never felt like I couldn't finish the book. It held my interest, just wasn't a surprise This book was just okay for me. The book was way too predictable for me when a character reveals something in such a way that left me no longer guessing to "who done it". I love a cozy mystery that keeps me guessing right up to the end. The sad thing is, up to that point I was very into the book. The writing was good, and I enjoyed the descriptions of what all they were seeing on their cruise. All that said I never felt like I couldn't finish the book. It held my interest, just wasn't a surprise to me in the end. ALSO, it was way too short for my liking.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    Great story! This is a good start to the series. It had drama, suspense, interesting characters, and enjoyable to read. I recommend it, and look forward reading the rest of the series.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    I thoroughly enjoyed this.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lynn's

    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 a 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 left 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, which is becoming a more common shore excursion available 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 Ruins 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!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Krystyna

    The acceptable sacrifice A terrific start to an easy to read series. Good plot and with a nice twist to reveal the killer. Using the history of the Mayans was well done and enhanced the story. Loved the characters and using hearing impaired people was done thoughtfully and sympathetically. Best of all it showed that they are the same as everyone else with the same 'normal' emotions and feelings. Being a hearing impaired interpreter was normally enjoyable but this group was another matter. One of The acceptable sacrifice A terrific start to an easy to read series. Good plot and with a nice twist to reveal the killer. Using the history of the Mayans was well done and enhanced the story. Loved the characters and using hearing impaired people was done thoughtfully and sympathetically. Best of all it showed that they are the same as everyone else with the same 'normal' emotions and feelings. Being a hearing impaired interpreter was normally enjoyable but this group was another matter. One of the husband's was trying his best to seduce all the women on the cruise and in the group. Apparently he was on his honeymoon but his bride was a grandmother and he seemed to find all hearing impaired people beneath his notice. Taking them on the tour of the Mayans ruins would have been a joy but for his presence and the upcoming storm which she finds has been upgraded to a hurricane. The man's baser nature is revealed when he is shown an artifact worth millions. However it was still a surprise to find his body later the next day with the artifact in his chest. Getting pulled in by the Mexican police was no fun but when a representative of the Embassy shows up nay be things would improve. Getting swept up to sea, attacked by a madman and catching the killer are just some of the things awaiting her, her service dog and the representative. A terrific little read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Honeybee

    Unique mystery novel with mostly deaf characters I can’t say I have ever read a book in which almost all of the characters are deaf, but this one was kind of fun. Kitty, the point-of-view character, is a deaf interpreter on a cruise ship. Her service dog, Chica, is almost psychic, and takes good care of her mistress. Two regulars on her cruises are deaf middle-aged spinsters with “ascerbic wit” who love to gossip and “stir the pot.” During an overnight excursion to some Mayan ruins in Mexico, a p Unique mystery novel with mostly deaf characters I can’t say I have ever read a book in which almost all of the characters are deaf, but this one was kind of fun. Kitty, the point-of-view character, is a deaf interpreter on a cruise ship. Her service dog, Chica, is almost psychic, and takes good care of her mistress. Two regulars on her cruises are deaf middle-aged spinsters with “ascerbic wit” who love to gossip and “stir the pot.” During an overnight excursion to some Mayan ruins in Mexico, a priceless artifact is stolen and an obnoxious passenger is ritualistically murdered in the killing room. The reader will quickly surmise who the victim will be, but who killed him and why takes time and Kitty’s clever mind to uncover. Meanwhile, a handsome attaché from the American consulate is assigned to the group and takes special interest in Kitty, providing another point of interest for her witty friends. If you enjoy cozy mysteries with the added benefit of Christian thoughts here and there, then this should be a treat. Just be prepared to reread several sentences, as typos abound in the eBook version!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bette

    A cozy mystery which will satisfy many different challenges. Need to read a book features an archeological discovery, a character suffers an illness, a character suffers a disability features a family style dinner, set in South America, a character travels for work and or pleasure, takes place somewhere there is a jungle features an animal, has a romance, has a relationship/friendship/couple has some mystery, setting is affected by the weather, a country that begins with the letter “Y”, etc., etc., etc. A cozy mystery which will satisfy many different challenges. Need to read a book features an archeological discovery, a character suffers an illness, a character suffers a disability features a family style dinner, set in South America, a character travels for work and or pleasure, takes place somewhere there is a jungle features an animal, has a romance, has a relationship/friendship/couple has some mystery, setting is affected by the weather, a country that begins with the letter “Y”, etc., etc., etc. Lots of pluses, as it is entertaining as well as a fast read. But, it could use some light editing (if its not my vision) – as I noted occasional missing words, some typos for which I deducted ½ a point.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sharon M. Turner

    Ritual murder! Kitty Swift, a cruise interpreter for the hearing impaired, leads a group into the jungles of the Yucatan Peninsula to some interesting ruins. The guests and their service dogs are having a great time until one of their members is ritually murdered and an unexpected hurricane sweeps in. Unexpected help shows up and Kitty and the American Embassy investigator begin to unravel the clues. Good read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Cute novella that I would give 3 1/2 stars to if I could give partials. First in series, so it sets up the characters for the books that are to follow. First time I had read a book where ASL (American Sign Language) played such a pivotal part and it was very interesting. Twist ending somewhat. This was a free download on my iPad.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rusti

    Fun travel with history read. Fun travel with history read, good characters to follow and loved to learn about the places and the peoples that lived there as well as learn about some of the hearing disabilities and communications and sign language used by the hearing impaired. I’ll read more of these.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Good! ... But needs proofreading I enjoyed the book. It's an easy read, with enough drama to be interesting & entertaining, but light enough to read before bed. (Not that it put me to sleep! 😉) My only real "complaint" is grammatical & other errors. Not enough to dissuade me from reading others in the series, but enough to be distracting at times. Good! ... But needs proofreading I enjoyed the book. It's an easy read, with enough drama to be interesting & entertaining, but light enough to read before bed. (Not that it put me to sleep! 😉) My only real "complaint" is grammatical & other errors. Not enough to dissuade me from reading others in the series, but enough to be distracting at times.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Chris Blackton

    I have certainly read better books! I am thinking about avoiding self-published books since I have reached the conclusion that they are self-published because most publishers reject the books because they are not very good. And of course they are the prerequisite number of editing/lack of editing errors!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Connie

    Good read and good start of a series I really loved the idea of quotes at the beginning of each chapter. The story started a bit slow but picked up and held my interest to the end; although the end was a bit abrupt it was still enjoyable.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Karolynn Cechowski

    I loved this book and look forward to reading the rest of the series. I gave this book four stars because it needed editing - words were left out here and there. But that didn't stop me from enjoying the story. Please try this series! I loved this book and look forward to reading the rest of the series. I gave this book four stars because it needed editing - words were left out here and there. But that didn't stop me from enjoying the story. Please try this series!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Heather Haven

    This is a charming and different mystery I found this mystery very entertaining and something more. It has a lot of heart. It’s not just the wonderful dogs but the relationship between them, the characters and the story teller. I will read more of this series.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mary Beth

    Kitty Swift travels around the sunny Yucatan peninsula assisting luxury cruise ship groups as an interpreter for the deaf. After a disastrous broken engagement, she's perfectly content to spend her days with her service dog. Kitty Swift travels around the sunny Yucatan peninsula assisting luxury cruise ship groups as an interpreter for the deaf. After a disastrous broken engagement, she's perfectly content to spend her days with her service dog.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine Shouse

    A Solidly Good Read Kitty is an engaging character with an awesome dog. The story built up quite nicely, but the climax felt rushed. There was also at least one typo in every chapter.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mai

    3+. Nice beginning to a series. A bit too much unnecessary religion stuff, but it is billed as Christian fiction so I can't complain too much. Overall, I enjoyed it quite a bit. Rather different concept. 3+. Nice beginning to a series. A bit too much unnecessary religion stuff, but it is billed as Christian fiction so I can't complain too much. Overall, I enjoyed it quite a bit. Rather different concept.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Marisol Garcia

    Quite enjoyable I found this book very enjoyable to read. I liked the quotes about life and death at the beginning of each chapter. I liked how the main character seats reminded herself how she wanted to live a good and fulfilled life. I can't wait to read the second book. Quite enjoyable I found this book very enjoyable to read. I liked the quotes about life and death at the beginning of each chapter. I liked how the main character seats reminded herself how she wanted to live a good and fulfilled life. I can't wait to read the second book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Gruesome death but a gentle story. I can understanding why all of the people with hearing impairments has service dogs, but why did Kitty? Additionally, a ninety year old woman with a twenty five year old husband was a bit much. However, I did enjoy it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Carolann Hiller

    Cruise Line Adventure Shore leave leads to sacrificial murder Mayan style. ASL interpreter Kitty tries to keep tour group and service dogs out of harms way. Its a big job.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Anne-Kathrine

    It was an interesting read. Love that there were several dogs in the story.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    Exciting mystery beginning on a cruise ship. A must-read for those who enjoy archeological sites. The book gave me a whole new appreciation for service animals. Read it and see. Highly recommend!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nadine

    Cute book...really short. Happy Reading :)

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Johnson

    Wonderful story This was a great mystery story. I love the characters. Plus the history was fascinating and so was learning about some of the causes of deafness.

  28. 4 out of 5

    barbara conroy

    Great story, fantastic character's, interesting choice of how to commit the murder, I have to continue on with the series Great story, fantastic character's, interesting choice of how to commit the murder, I have to continue on with the series

  29. 4 out of 5

    CHERYL YEAGER

    Knife A very interesting story. The characters were well written. I like that the characters were different than in every other story.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Julie Hendricks

    Writing shows promise, but very underdeveloped draft

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