Monday, January 12, 2015

The Deep End (The Country Club Murders Book 1)

Author:  Julie Mulhern
Genre:  Mystery

Five Stars
 
Swimming into the lifeless body of her husband’s mistress tends to ruin a woman’s day, but becoming a murder suspect can ruin her whole life.
 
It’s 1974 and Ellison Russell’s life revolves around her daughter and her art. She’s long since stopped caring about her cheating husband, Henry, and the women with whom he entertains himself. That is, until she becomes a suspect in Madeline Harper’s death. The murder forces Ellison to confront her husband’s proclivities and his crimes—kinky sex, petty cruelties and blackmail.

As the body count approaches par on the seventh hole, Ellison knows she has to catch a killer. But with an interfering mother, an adoring father, a teenage daughter, and a cadre of well-meaning friends demanding her attention, can Ellison find the killer before he finds her.

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Ellison Russell swims every morning in the pool at her Country Club.  This morning, however, there's a difference...while on her first lap, she touches the body of her husband's mistress - and instantly becomes a suspect in the murder.  To make matters worse, her husband has disappeared also.  It doesn't help when she tells Detective Jones, the police detective investigating the murder, that she and her husband were on the verge of divorce, and she knew about the mistress.
 
But what has happened is more than just the death of Madeline, the mistress.  Ellison is quickly discovering that there is more to the murder than meets the eye.  In fact, things are getting sticky rather quickly when she begins to find out about her husband's private life and his "friends."  What makes it worse is when there is a break-in at her home and she opens her husband's safe and finds out what he has been doing as a sideline.
 
Suddenly, her entire life is reeling around her and her only thought is to protect her daughter Grace from all the talk and the fact that someone around them could be, and probably is, a murderer.  In doing so, she puts her own life in danger whether she realizes it or not.
 
What we have here is an excellent first book and an excellent mystery.  Ms. Mulhern weaves a tidy tale of murder, blackmail, and life behind the scenes in the Country Club set of the 70's.  In fact, it could even take place today, and if it weren't for the references to music and television of that time, you might never know when everything occurred.  We believe Ellison is only trying to protect her daughter, and that without taking chances she still puts herself in danger.  Her attempt at keeping herself removed from the situation while still involved with all the people she knows, eliminating them one by one as the guilty party, is easy enough to see, and like real life, she makes missteps along the way in those she thinks might be the murderer.
 
There are hints of attraction to both Detective Jones and Hunter Tafft, the attorney her mother has obtained for her, and we see Ellison fighting her emotions down and feeling guilty that she has them in the first place.  We also are with her when she comes to the realization of who the murderer is, and when discovered, the reasons behind it make perfect sense.  When I discovered the killer (before Ellison herself did) I had that 'aha moment', yet it did not detract at all from the rest of the book.  And although I was tempted several times to look at the last few pages and discover if I was right, I did not, and implore you not to do so either, because it will be worth it in the end to 'see how it all comes out.'
 
All in all, again an excellent mystery, highly recommended, and I eagerly await the next in the series.  This book will be released in February 2015.
 
 

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