Morgenroth (Echo, 2007, etc.) takes a break from her recent young-adult novels with this amoral tale of a mystery book club that falls apart when one of its wealthy members turns up dead.
After her wealthy but heartless father’s death, 28-year-old Sofie happily acquiesces to her husband Dean’s suggestion that they leave Manhattan for a mock Tudor in suburban Greenwich. Soon their social life revolves around the mystery book club Sofie joins. Self-centered, thoroughly unpleasant Priscilla runs the club. Other members include kind-hearted Susan, whose husband takes her for granted; Ashley, a second wife considered a bimbo by the other women; and Julia, who moved to Greenwich only months before Sofie and is counting the months until she can return to the city. One morning while walking with Priscilla, Sofie spies Julia’s body hanging from a tree in her front yard. While it looks like suicide, some damning evidence surfaces connecting Julia’s husband Alex to the tragedy, and he becomes the prime suspect of both the police and the book club. It seems Alex had a first wife whose death was ruled a suicide, but the detective now assigned to Julia’s case has always believed Alex murdered his first wife. Meanwhile, Dean and Priscilla begin an affair that doesn’t stop Priscilla from enlisting Sofie to get the goods on Alex. Alex, who believes Julia had a secret lover, comes to Sofie to learn what the club members know. Poor Sofie seems everyone’s dupe. After she and Alex spend increasing time together, Sofie tells him she does not believe he is guilty. When she finds evidence that Dean was Julia’s lover, an interesting confession is made.
Morgenroth tricks suspicious readers by withholding key information until the end.