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By Beth Groundwater



In the whitewater rapids of Colorado’s Arkansas River, Tom King falls out of his raft. Mandy Tanner, ranger and river guide rescues him but King dies anyway. Mandy subsequently finds out King died from poisoning. Who killed him? The suspects are numerous. The wife had motive because Tom cheated on her. The mistress hated that Tom wanted to go back to his wife. The son Tom refused to help financially. The environmentalist who was against Tom plans for a golf course. The realtor in competition with Tom for land and water rights. Maybe it was one of Mandy’s own crew of river guides. She navigates her way through the list while also dealing with her uncle’s failing rafting business. Soon, she finds the water isn’t the only danger she has to face.


A nice cozy set in a small Colorado tourist town. A different setting than a typical big city mystery. This has your usual slate of suspects and characters.



Mandy Tanner: Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area Ranger and river guide at her uncle’s rafting business in Colorado. Both parents dead. Likes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches


Steve Hadley: Mandy’s supervisor


Gonzo Gordon: Another river guide.


Victor Quintana: Sheriff’s Detective


Rob Jaurez: An owner of a competing rafting outfit and Mandy’s boyfriend


Cynthia Abbott: bartender, Mandy’s good friend, likes to tell blonde jokes


Bill Tanner: Mandy’s uncle. Widower, no children. Wants Mandy to take over his business when he retires.


David Tanner: 30, Mandy’s brother. Blond with freckles. Accountant.


As I mentioned a standard cast for this type of mystery. Everyone is well defined and Groundwater doesn’t go into to too much depth with anybody except Mandy.



Standard. Rob doesn’t use any Spanish except mi querida when talking to Mandy



Easy read. I must mention, however, about the cool and appropriate name of the author. What else but a river adventure would you expect someone named Groundwater to write? She did some excellent research to bring a lot of aspects of life on the river, the dangers, and the technical know-how. This is a cozy with a few instances of foul language, but not enough to turn you off. The author did a nice job of keeping the story moving with each chapter.


My ranking:


Blue Belt

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