One and a half volumes into her series, Peloquin’s central mystery plot finally begins to come together.
A few weeks after having moved to a superrich swath of the Connecticut shore (The Innocents, 2012), sisters Charlie and Alice are beginning to settle in—kind of. Charlie and Jude are a confirmed couple, and shockingly, Jude’s cousin and sometime lover, Cybill, seems to welcome this development. Alice and Tommy, her dead stepsister Camilla’s former boyfriend, are also romantically paired, though Tommy insists on keeping the relationship secret. Alice’s mother has confirmed her longtime affair with her new, moneybags second husband—actually Alice’s father, making the girl’s relationship to Camilla an uncomfortably close one. On the periphery are two poorer characters: Stan, the handsome waiter Charlie discusses Fitzgerald with, and Nick, newly returned from Dartmouth for the summer; he’s Tommy’s disgraced ex-doctor father’s former intern. Viewed from above, it’s a Busby Berkeley ballet, country-club style: Characters couple; they part; they rearrange and couple again according to some unheard, rich-people gavotte. At the dismal center is Camilla’s suicide, which Alice thinks was foul play. Peloquin can write, there’s no question, and the dialectic she sets up between rich and poor is an interesting one, when her characters aren’t bitching at each other.
No one will read these books for the mystery, which is so glacially developed it’s easy to forget, what with all the sex, drugs and misery. (Chick-lit/mystery. 14 & up)