Title: The Dark and Deadly Pool
Author: Joan Lowery Nixon
Published: May 1989 by Laurel Leaf
Genre: Young adult mystery
How I got the book: I bought it
Liz enjoys her summer pool job at the glamorous Ridley Hotel. Until the night, a dark and lonely night, a ghasty shadow surges up from the pool. A face — eyes wide, mouth gaping — stares at Liz. A hand clutches at her sneaker. Then it, whatever it is, is gone.
But danger isn’t. Strange things are happening at the hotel, and a shaken Liz wants to know why. But whoever is behind the trouble will stop at nothing — even murder — to get what he wants…
I used to love Joan Lowery Nixon’s books when I was younger. I’ve read this one before, but of course, I couldn’t remember anything about it. So I thought I’d give it another read.
Mary Elizabeth takes a summer job at a luxury hotel. She works in the pool area scrubbing tiles, collecting towels, and making sure the locker rooms are tidy. She’s also in charge of closing up the pool at the end of the night.
She’s afraid of the dark and being at a large empty resort alone in the dark scares her all the more. One night she stays a little later to calm her nerves and get over her fears. That’s when she sees a mysterious figure swimming in the pool. They scare each and he disappears. It’s later still that a body turns up in the pool. With the help of her co-workers, specifically Fran, Liz investigates and solves the various crimes and murders.
This mystery plot is like most where the non-detective protagonist attempts to solve crimes on her own. Whereas she didn’t have a suspect list, she was more interested in the why and the how. Of course, she wanted the criminal to be caught, but she was mostly curious as to how they were getting in and out of the hotel undetected.
The ending was unexpected as well as you try to figure it out along with Liz. The culprit is the least person you would suspect and, in the end, Liz didn’t really save the day. The law enforcement did.
I found all the characters to be enjoyable. I liked having Liz as the protagonist, even though her character development at the end was a bit out of the blue. She wanted a tall man for a boyfriend and Fran was much shorter than her. She was against being with him because of that, but at the end she randomly overlooked it.
Fran was a fun character as well. He was the comic relief, but he was also Liz’s rock throughout the whole endeavor. Tina, another employee, was like Liz’s best friend and she helped out a lot as well.
Then, of course, there were Liz’s bosses and the various guests at the hotel. It was a fun, well-rounded cast of characters.
Nixon did a wonderful job at portraying the mystery. Liz didn’t find or figure out any clues or evidence right away or too easily and each crime was spaced out just enough.
The words on the page flow well and are easy to read. This is another quick read being shy of 200 pages.
I enjoyed re-reading this story even though I didn’t remember much of it. I look forward to reading her other books, some I’ve already read before. I also look forward to re-reading this again in a few years. Nixon certainly has a way with words and all her books are great.
The Dark and Deadly Pool by Joan Lowery Nixon gets…
4 out of 5 stars
“Take good care of yourself.”
“I will until you get home, Mom, and then I’ll give up and let you do it.” –Joan Lowery Nixon, The Dark And Deadly Pool
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