An amateur sleuth initiates her own investigation when she believes the drowning of her sister’s childhood friend, a competitive swimmer, is anything but accidental in this thriller.
Fortyish Trisha Carson is working part time at a ballpark and living with her younger sister, Lena, near San Francisco. Trisha also helps out at a swim clinic led by her sister’s friend Shari Grantner, where Lena is an instructor. After hearing of Shari’s death by reputed drowning, Trisha suspects foul play, particularly once she learns the body shows signs of struggle. She’s confident enough to look into the possible murder herself; after all, she solved a swimming-related homicide just last year. This time, there’s a slew of potential killers: Shari’s little brother, Mitch, threatened her for keeping him from the family fortune, and her relationship with boyfriend Duncan had been dwindling. Clues, meanwhile, roll in, including a pile of X-rated photos and the mysterious man appearing in some. Things get dicier when a stranger accosts Trisha and warns her about her nosiness, followed soon thereafter by a second death—another apparent accident. Trisha is nonetheless determined to find a murderer and hopefully without injury to herself or someone she knows. Carroll’s (Dead in the Water, 2013) writing bounces off the page, as even non-swimmers will easily grasp the aquatic details (Each time Lena “flip turned at my end of the pool and streamlined off the wall, I could see her anxiety fade”). Trisha has a curious back story: Dad abandoned the family over two decades earlier and her husband voluntarily but inexplicably disappeared. Her equally unusual investigative method involves making a copy of Shari’s apartment key and snatching a few of the dead woman’s (pertinent) things. But while the suspect list and distrust among characters run entertainingly high, the plot is occasionally muddled. An individual’s arrest, for example, doesn’t entail a murder charge, which Trisha contradicts later, and the narrative ends with a still unclear motive for a killing.
A smart, steadfast gumshoe who, in her second book, continues to flourish.