Friday, June 9, 2017

Death on West End Road (Hamptons Murder Mysteries Book 3)

Author:  Carrie Doyle
Genre:  Mystery

Trade Paperback; Ebook
ISBN #:  9780997270181
Dunemere Books
377 Pages
$14.99; $6.99 Amazon
June 11, 2017


An unsolved crime is something that Hamptons innkeeper and sleuth Antonia Bingham just can't resist.  Despire a busy high-season schedule and an inn booked to capacity, Antonia has agreed to investigate a cold case in her beloved adopted hometown, East Hampton, NY: the killing of Susie Whitaker, whose brutal 1990 slaying on a tennis court in the poshes part of town was never solved.

And the person who has hired Antonia?  Prime suspect Pauline Framingham, a manipulative pharmaceutical heiress from a powerful family.  As Antonia attempts to unravel the mysteries of the past she unearths even darker secrets and ultimately wonders if it would have been best to let sleeping does lie.  To make matters worse, past acquaintances and love interests reappear in the Hamptons, disrupting Antonia's world and causing her to scurry to the fridge for comfort.


Antonia Bingham owns and operates an inn in the Hamptons, and it's a busy place this time of the year.  One day she receives a visit from Pauline Framingham, one of the richest people who lives there, and Pauline makes a strange request:  she wants Antonia to solve a murder that occurred 27 years ago.  Pauline's best friend Susie Whitaker was bludgeoned to death on Pauline's tennis court, and while many were suspected - including Pauline herself - no one was ever found guilty of the crime.  While there are plenty of suspects, there aren't many clues.  Susie was alone on the court, and no one saw anything that pointed to any one person.  In the end, it was left as an unsolved crime.

Pauline, however, has asked Antonia to solve it because she was able to solve murders that others were not.  It seems no matter how many private detectives Pauline hired, none were able to get to the truth, and Pauline is tired of the cloud of suspicion constantly hanging over her.  While every instinct tells Antonia no, her curiosity wins out, and with Pauline agreeing to rent every room in the hotel during her slowest month, Antonia acquiesces.

With the help of her friend Joseph who is the best researcher she knows, and Larry Lipper, a newspaper reporter who manages to ferret out information where Antonia can't, she sets out to find the truth.  But it seems everyone she asks has an alibi, and while she still thinks they're all hiding something, she can't prove it, and none of their answers seems genuine.  But even though Antonia is determined to find out why 17-year-old Susie was so brutally murdered, it seems there are others who don't want her to know, and will go to great lengths to keep her from finding out the truth...

First off I want to say how much I enjoyed this book.  We are given the mystery immediately:  the sad death of a young girl who was summering in the Hamptons with her friends.  Her life cut short, and at first glance Antonia sees that Pauline wants to find out the truth.  Pauline, cold, forbidding and manipulative, is used to getting what she wants, and Antonia is no match against her, so while Antonia isn't a private detective or a police officer, Pauline convinces her she can do what none of them have been able to so far.

But there is more to the story (as we know there will be) and it is indeed a mystery worth reading.  The tale is spun as well as a tapestry; each thread is is twisted with another just enough to keep us wondering who the murderer could be.  The clues are there, but they are well hidden within the narrative; I realized the truth just shortly before Antonia herself, which makes a very good book indeed.

All the main characters are given life and breadth and you get a feel for the type of people they are.  Antonia has her issues to deal with, but she's a caring and loyal friend, and while her curiosity sometimes takes her places she'd rather not be, her heart always brings her back to what's important in life; and Larry's a riot - for all his faults, he's a good friend.  Pauline was indeed humorless and it's hard to find sympathy for her character, but I don't think we were meant to do so.

In the end, when the murderer is discovered, you find out the true measure of people and the lengths they will go to to keep the secrets of the dead.  It is hard to define what causes people to do the things they do, and you wonder at their reasoning for doing so.  But even knowing this, secrets have a way of coming forth even when you try your best to keep them hidden forever.  All in all, a wonderful book with plenty of twists and turns, and I hope to see many more from this author.  Highly recommended.

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