Murder aboard an elite dinner cruise shakes up wealthy investment fund participants in Newport, Rhode Island.
Newport, the sailing mecca and home to the spectacular summer “cottages” of late 19th- and early 20th-century captains of industry, is the enticing backdrop for Sutton’s (Keep My Secret, 2013, etc.) latest addition to her mystery series. And once again, young widow Caroline Kent, owner of the Inn at Kenwood Court, finds herself playing amateur detective. When Althea Tanner, head of the fabulously successful money management firm Tanner Associates, is murdered while hosting a party aboard a chartered yacht, the obvious suspect is Teddy Ainsley. Teddy, a son of Newport’s old money crowd, wants to draw his family’s sizable holdings out of Althea’s fund, but she has insisted that he must wait several months for the investments to be liquidated. The two are heard arguing just before Althea’s body is discovered below deck. Lt. Hank Nightingale, Caroline’s crime-solving partner from the previous novels in the series and also her boyfriend, has Teddy arrested. Caroline is convinced that Teddy is innocent. But who else would have a reason to kill the woman who reliably turned out quarterly dividend checks that kept everyone satisfied? As it turns out, there are all sorts of possibilities. This pleasant mystery mixes financial shenanigans with Newport’s elite and its wealthy newcomers. Sutton doesn’t fully flesh out her characters, not even the two principal protagonists, Caroline and Hank. But the book successfully maintains the puzzle-solving tradition of good old-fashioned detective novels. If some of the players are a bit stereotypical (for example, the dowager Ainsley, who pays no attention to the investments that maintain her grand style), all are still sufficiently serviceable in furthering a plotline that is more believable than it should be, judging from the past decade’s headlines. Newport itself shines, and Sutton turns out to be a knowledgeable tour guide. Her descriptions are concise yet evocative—a reader can almost smell the salty air permeating Bannister’s Wharf, with retired America’s Cup yachts bobbing at the docks. Her solid prose is unembellished but sure-footed, and well suited to the genre.
An engaging and enjoyable whodunit that should keep readers guessing until the end.