Book 2

Murder on Mustang Beach

Outer Banks Bookshop Mystery Book 2

Now Available

When a killer stirs up trouble in the Outer Banks, amateur sleuth and bookseller Callie Padget is on the case, in a new beachside mystery from bestselling author Alicia Bessette.

“Delightful … Bessette’s fast-paced cozy harbors quirky characters and an intriguing plot that will keep readers guessing until the end.”
Publishers Weekly

“The perfect escape!”
First For Women

“Fun … gorgeous … immersive.”
Criminal Element

One of First For Women's 7 Feel-Great Reads You'll Love for July 2023


Book 1

Smile Beach Murder

Outer Banks Bookshop Mystery Book 1

Nominated for an Edgar® Award

“A fresh shot of warmth and verve … the first in a new series I already know I want to read more of.”
The New York Times Book Review

“Everything a cozy lover could possibly want.”
Publishers Weekly

“Well-plotted and beautifully executed.”
Mystery & Suspense

A Southern Indie bestseller


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About Alicia

Alicia Bessette is the bestselling author of the Outer Banks Bookshop mystery series. Book 1 in the series, Smile Beach Murder, was Edgar®-nominated for the inaugural Lilian Jackson Braun Award by the Mystery Writers of America. Before penning fiction, Bessette worked as a reporter in her home state of Massachusetts, where she won a first-place award from the New England Press Association. Her poetry has appeared in numerous literary magazines. A pianist and editor, she now loves living in Beaufort, South Carolina with her husband, novelist Matthew Quick.

Author Alicia Bessette

The Outer Banks Bookshop Mysteries

Alicia Bessette: Smile Beach Murder

Book 1

Alicia Bessette: Murder on Mustang Beach

Book 2


Q: How many books are in the Outer Banks Bookshop Mysteries?
A: There are two books in the series: Smile Beach Murder (1) and Murder on Mustang Beach (2). Murder on Mustang Beach picks up eleven months after Smile Beach Murder ends, but both books are written as standalones, and they do not need to be read in order.

Q: Is Cattail Island a real place?
A: While North Carolina’s Outer Banks are actual barrier islands, Cattail Island is fictional. My imagination puts Cattail in the Pamlico Sound, somewhere south of Roanoke and north of Ocracoke islands (both of which are real). If you’d like to visit someplace like Cattail, try Ocracoke.

Q: Do you have any advice for writers who want to be traditionally published?
A: Loads! My newsletter includes writing tips, encouragement, and insider info, in addition to lots of other fun and excusive content. Please do join many other happy subscribers and sign up! I’d love to have you along, and I promise to never share your information or overload your inbox.

Q: Who are some of your early writing influences?
A: Nevada Barr, Lilian Jackson Braun, Agatha Christie, Mary Higgins Clark, and L.M. Montgomery. My favorite books are Jane Eyre and Watership Down. My favorite contemporary authors include Matthew Quick and many others.

Q: Are you the same Alicia Bessette whose piano music plays on my solo piano Pandora station?
A: Between 2002 and 2019 I released four full-length albums of original solo piano music: Reservoir, Orchard, The Great Room, and Finding the River. All are available on iTunes and Amazon.

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Past events: 2023 Murder on Mustang Beach Book Tour

Friday, March 31 from 6 – 8 p.m.
LitLIVE! (Broward Public Library Foundation)
Barnes & Noble, Fort Lauderdale FL

Saturday, April 1 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
A Night of Literary Feasts (Broward Public Library Foundation)
Bahia Mar, Fort Lauderdale FL

Thursday, April 27
77th Annual Edgar Awards
New York Marriott Marquis (Times Square)

Thursday, May 11 @ 6 p.m.
A Cozy Cozy Evening: Alicia Bessette in Conversation with Lynn Cahoon
Dare County Arts Council (2nd floor), Manteo NC
*No ticket required but reserve your spot and preorder books by calling Downtown Books at 252-473-1056

Thursday, May 18 @ 7 p.m.
Writers Talk Writing: Alicia Bessette & Catherine Newman
TidePool Bookshop, Worcester MA
*Free and open to the public

Wednesday, May 24 @ 7 p.m.
Let’s Discuss It: Alicia Bessette in Conversation with Jamie Brenner
Upper Dublin Public Library, Fort Washington PA
*Free registration required at; option to preorder Murder on Mustang Beach with books also available the night of!

Saturday, June 3 from 1-3 p.m.
Dare Days Book Signing
Authors’ Tent, Manteo NC (downtown)
*books available for purchase via Downtown Books

Thursday, August 24 @ 11:30 a.m.
Author Luncheon
Crystal Coast Country Club, Pine Knoll Shores NC
*books available for purchase; more details coming soon!

Saturday, October 7
21st Annual Collingswood Book Festival, Collingswood NJ
*books available for purchase; more details coming soon!

Past events: 2022 Smile Beach Murder Book Tour

Friday, May 6 from 6-8 p.m.
In-Person: First Friday Manteo Book Signing
Downtown Books, 103 Sir Walter Raleigh St, Manteo NC

Wednesday, May 11 @ 6 p.m.
In-Person: Alicia Bessette In Conversation with Matthew Quick
Dare County Arts Council, 300 Queen Elizabeth Ave, Manteo NC
*ticket purchase required
*books available via Downtown Books

Thursday, May 12 @ 6 p.m. EST
Virtual: Alicia Bessette In Conversation with Jenn McKinlay
Bethany Beach Books

Saturday, June 4 from 12-2 p.m.
In-Person: Dare Day Book Signing
Manteo NC Waterfront, Authors’ Tent
*books available via Downtown Books

Friday, June 10 from 4-7 p.m.
In-Person: Book Talk & Signing
Grand Opening of the Camden County Library, 104 Investors Way, Camden NC
*books available via Page After Page Bookstore

Monday, June 13 @ 7 p.m.
In-Person: Alicia Bessette In Conversation with Matthew Quick
Collingswood Public Library, 771 Haddon Ave, Collingswood NJ
*free registration required
*books available via Inkwood Books

Friday, July 15 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
In-Person: Book Signing
Downtown Books, 103 Sir Walter Raleigh St, Manteo NC

Tuesday, August 16 from 12 – 2 p.m.
In-Person: Book Signing
Downtown Books, 103 Sir Walter Raleigh St, Manteo NC

Wednesday, August 24 @ 6 p.m.
In-Person: Alicia Bessette In Conversation with Matthew Quick
Gale Free Library, 23 Highland St, Holden MA
*free registration required (call 508-210-5569 or email galefreelibrary @
*books available via TidePool Bookshop


Thanks for stopping by my website. For more about me, my work, and my life in coastal South Carolina, please do visit me on Instagram. I’d love to see you there! And I love hearing from readers and book clubs. Email me at or by using the button below.

Rights inquiries:

Adam Chromy, Movable Type Management

Publicity inquiries:

Tina Joell, Publicist (Berkley)


Alicia Bessette: Smile Beach Murder
Alicia Bessette: Smile Beach Murder
Author Alicia Bessette