Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Death on Bull Path (A Hamptons Murder Mystery #4)

Author:  Carrie Doyle
Genre:    Mystery

Trade Paperback; Digital Book
ISBN #:  9781947936027
Dunemere Books
300 Pages
$15.99; $7.99 Amazon
August 1, 2018


East Hampton Innkeeper Antonia Bingham relishes the prospect of a cool, calm autumn after the hot, crazy summer.  But when a Labor Day visit by two slick Wall Streeters ends with their gruesome deaths in a summer rental house, Antonia is pulled back to the dark side.

With mysterious guests (and possible suspects) popping in and out of the inn, Antonia has no choice but to put back on her sleuthing cap and try to decipher who butchered these men.  Wading through social media, the local nightclub scene, share houses, and other unfamiliar haunts of the young and glamorous is an eye-opener for Antonia - and a major time commitment.  And the timing couldn't be worse: Nick Darrow, Antonia's movie star crush, is back in town, finally available and ready for a commitment...while Antonia's sinister ex-husband is making his presence known in her life again, too.

The high season may be over by Antonia has never been busier, juggling work and crime - and fighting for her own life, too.


Antonia Bingham owns the Windmill Inn in the East Hamptons.  It's just after Labor Day, when the tourist season is slowing down and she can take it easy...or so she thinks.  Two men are at the inn one evening, obviously drunk, and the bartender sends them on their way after assuring they have a ride and aren't driving.  But when Antonia's friend Sergeant Flanagan shows up, she knows there's going to be trouble.

Unfortunately, that trouble comes in the form of the two men being dead, killed in a most gruesome way.  Since they spent some of their last hours there, he wants to know who the woman was that was with them, and if anyone knows her.  But Antonia never saw them, and even if she feels because it was her inn, Flanagan tells her nothing.

But it's reporter Larry Lipper who shows up and convinces her that they should investigate the case.  As they say, the plot only thickens when a woman comes stumbling out of the woods and another is found in one of Antonia's guest rooms, and neither seem to know what's going on...but do they?

Then movie star Nick Darrow returns and wants to rekindle their romance, but with him not quite divorced from his wife, she wonders just how serious he might be; and things might turn deadly when her ex-husband Philip makes his presence known and sends fear down her spine.  Now Antonia needs to keep her wits about her if she's to survive her ex-husband and maybe even a killer...

I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  There is plenty of suspense and intrigue going on, and Antonia is kept busy trying to sift through everything that's thrown at her and discover the truth.  While she's not officially investigating the murder, and the police share nothing with her regarding the same (which is nicely believable) she has the help of Larry, who doggedly pursues right along with her, following any and every lead available.

But Antonia isn't sure which of the many suspects have the best motive to kill the men.  For one, she's not even sure why they were murdered.  No one seems to have answers, and they also don't want to answer her questions.

While for the most part this book was a wonderful read, I didn't care for the fact that she would just decide to question someone without really knowing what to say.  You don't just knock on someone's door and demand answers; that's the best way to put them on the defensive.  It also seems sloppy, in my opinion. 

But I do like Antonia.  She's still the scared ex-wife of Philip, probably because his chief joy is in terrorizing her at every opportunity.  But she's grown and this time she's using her wits and willing to fight back, which is admirable.  She's trying to decide if it's worth pursuing a relationship with Nick, while not telling him that Philip is in town.  And her ex has some nasty tricks up his sleeve that even Antonia couldn't believe he would do.  I also didn't care for something regarding one of the suspects had done to Antonia.  I couldn't believe that there was no recourse by her for this, and wish something would have been said.  I certainly wouldn't have walked away from it.  It irritated me no end throughout the book.

Never fear, the romance angle isn't overshadowing the mystery, and what a mystery it was.  There were plenty of red herrings and every time any of the suspects opened their mouths, it sent her in a different direction looking at someone else - and wondering if any of them were telling the truth at all.

The story was taut and well-written, the characters believable; and while there weren't a lot of descriptions of the area, it didn't really matter since not much of the action took place outdoors.  The twists and turns were numerous, and in the end, I was completely surprised by the identity of the murderer; while I realize that there are things which can drive people to desperation, this was a new one for me.  All the pieces came together nicely, which boded for a very good tale indeed.

This is the fourth book in the series but can be read as a stand alone.  There is very little referencing any of the other books (save a small conversation in the beginning) so one will not feel lost in reading this book nor that they've stepped into the middle of a conversation.  All in all, a delightful read.  Recommended.


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