Annika Sorenstam playing the Colonial? That’s nothing compared to the outrage of murder at Long Island’s exclusive Broken Oak—in a first from Breaznell.
About the only thing that could get blue-collar Detective Karl Kanopka into Broken Oak is a corpse named O’Reilly floating in the water hazard with a crushed skull. The club, once the luxurious estate of Dame Winifred Randall, writer of enormously popular Agatha Christiesque mysteries, is currently owned by her nephew Randy Randall, a victim of Locust Valley lockjaw who must personally approve every member. Kanopka wrestles with his social inferiority while mourning the recent death of his beloved wife, a devoted fan of Dame Winfred’s mysteries, one of which Kanopka starts to read as he interviews the suspects. Because the victim was a land developer determined to take over Broken Oak, Randall is the obvious choice. But Kanopka learns from Dame Winifred’s work to look beyond the obvious, and looking at O’Reilly’s beautiful widow is an additional pleasure. A violent cardiologist, a Texas golf pro, an imbecile cousin, a sullen greenskeeper, and a crazy caddy round out the list. In an all-too-contrived end, Kanopka discovers which one wields the deadly five-iron when it gets aimed at his own head.
Breaznell goes way over par with one-liners, bogeying the promising intersection of hard-boiled characterization with cozy plotting.