Monday, November 28, 2011

Splendid Summer, by Mary Matthews


Amazon Digital Editions, May 2011

Splendid Summer is a great romp, funny and fast-moving. Grace Wentworth is on her way home to Coronado, California after completing Finishing School in Europe in the 1920s. "Home" is with her Uncle Charles and Aunt Alice, because her parents died when she was a young child. On the way, she meets Jack Brewster, Pinkerton detective in charge of security for much of Coronado, and his cat, a deaf white Persian named Tatania.

She's also getting a series of rather strange and disturbing telegrams from Uncle Charles. When she goes to the train telegraph office to send a return telegram, she and Jack find the telegraph operator has been murdered.

On reaching Coronado, they discover her uncle is also dead, and it looks like a suicide. Her always-difficult aunt, or, as Grace quickly begins to refer to her, former aunt, is interested only in establishing that his death wasn't a suicide so that she can collect the insurance money. Uncle Charles' former law partner seems oddly hostile, the hotel has been sending room service deliveries on her uncle's account to a boat in the harbor, and things seem stranger and stranger the longer she looks at her uncle's death. Jack, of course, also gets more and more compelling the more she sees him--and that's not even mentioning Tatania, who plays an important role in how things work out!

This is apparently the start of Grace, Jack, and Tatania's adventures, and I'm looking forward to the next ones.

Highly recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the author.