Abandoned by her lover’s defection back to Interpol, private eye Bay Tanner (Perdition House, 2003) returns from Paris to the South Carolina Lowcountry, where she finds mystery aplenty to distract her from Alain Darnay.
Three puzzles lure Bay from her beloved cottage on Hilton Head, where she’s holed up trying to find solace in the tempting meals prepared by housekeeper Dolores Santiago. An old friend, lawyer Chris Brandon, wants her to check out a possible fiddle with the books at Dwight and Bubba Mitchell’s seafood shop. Still more urgent is the plea of her father’s longtime cook and caretaker Lavinia Smalls to find out why Judge Talbot Simpson has started receiving monthly visits from Felicity Baronne, and why he sends her a handsome check after each. But the most gripping and dangerous is the death of young Gray Palmer, her partner Erik Whiteside’s college roommate. Gray, an archaeologist, had asked Erik to check into a skeleton he found on a nearby islet, but before Erik can begin, Gray’s drowned body is discovered dangling from a rope off the side of his powerboat. Gray’s partner, Araminda Albright, wants Erik and Bay to investigate, but Gray’s father isn’t so sure. He offers and rescinds a contract more than once, convincing Bay and Erik that something is mighty fishy at their end of the Atlantic.
A decent mystery overpowered by too much local color and domestic detail.