A WATERY GRAVE by Barbara Corcoran


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A family called Farley moves into a nearby house equipped with pool and tennis court, and best friends Kim and Stella hear hints of mystery and tragedy. With both sets of parents on a Bermuda vacation and their college-girl sitter in hospital for an appendectomy, Kim and Stella soon find themselves ""camping"" in the Farley's guest house. They hear of a Farley son who died of a drug overdose at a fraternity party. Now, a year later, four of the dead boy's friends are Farley guests, and Mr. Farley is determined to learn how the accident occurred. He is sure (correctly) that his son never took drugs. One of the four guests, about to talk, is found stabbed to death in the pool; a Farley child, a junior eccentric, is kidnapped; and Kim and Stella, who are pretty much ignored, do some spying which helps the local police pinpoint the two guilty guests. The snooping also gets Kim nearly drowned in the pool by an unseen night-time assailant--a violent warning, police conclude, rather than attempted murder. Corcoran takes a stab at distributing suspicion, but the only surprise is which one of the guilty couple actually carried out the murder. Corcoran keys this to the undemanding mystery reader, but the writing, characterization, motivation, and setting are so mechanical and simplified as to be implausible, and there is none of the exotic ambience that saves other such Corcoran mysteries. Routine stuff, for addicts who prefer it that way.

Pub Date: Sept. 10th, 1982
Publisher: Atheneum