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Monday, June 12, 2017
2:52 pm edt
Death on West End Road
I have lately become a huge fan of mysteries.
Especially those that are less macabre and more light-hearted. Like the Aunt Dimity series by Nancy Atherton or Alexander
McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective stories. The latest in my collection of what I’ll term “feminist
mystery/romantic fiction” writers is Carrie Doyle. And, as it turns out, it’s yet, again, set in the Hamptons!
I am on a roll, here, folks…
Carrie Doyle is a talented author who has combined many of her interests
– mystery and crime novels, cooking, and general nosiness – into her creation of the Hamptons Murder Mystery
series starting Antonia Bingham, a foodie innkeeper and reluctant detective. Death on West End Road (Hamptons Murder Mysteries Book 3) , the third of this fast-paced series was published just yesterday by Dunemere Books. The first two, Death on Lily
Pond Land and Death on Windmill Way, were released back-to-back last year.
While each mystery of
the series can be enjoyed as a stand-alone read, I made it a point to devour the first two before tackling the third. This
way, I could trace Antonia’s story and that of Doyle’s other intriguing characters to fully appreciate the intricacies
of main and sub- plots for each succeeding novel. I am glad I did because characters in the first book appear, disappear,
and reappear in the second and third – more developed and complex as they weave in and out of Antonia’s life.
Much like people in real life weaving in and out of one’s own spheres of reference.
I adore Antonia, by the
way. She is a delightful combination of Melissa McCarthys' chief chef character in Gilmore Girls, Agatha Christies’
Miss Maple (although forty years younger), and Columbo (remember him?) She is a tough, tenacious, intense, slightly
overweight 36-year-old with a warm heart and a healthy sense of what is right and wrong. And her adventures in solving crimes
– especially murder – are filled with wit and wonder. Which proves that Doyle, herself, is a great writer whose
plot lines, as well as her characters – which and who are seemingly predictable – are chock full of twists and
turns and surprise endings.
Just to give you a few teasers. In book one, Antonia solves the mystery of the murder
of young documentary film maker. We meet her, the supporting staff of her inn and restaurant on Windmill Way, and her annoyingly
persistent cohort in crime, the local journalist Larry Lipper (an apt name for his royal rudeness); Joseph, a much older history
writer, enters the picture; as well as Genevieve, Antonia’s best, but often ditzy, best friend. We also meet a nearly
improbable love-interest, Nick Darrow, who is a famous Hollywood actor. In number two, the case is cracked of the deaths of
previous owners of Antonia’s inn. She thinks she is next. But is she? We meet again Gen, Nick, and Joseph… and
Pauline Farmingham who is the primary suspect in the murder of her best friend on her family’s tennis court. In book
three, Antonia is hired by Pauline to find the real murderer, only to be thwarted every step of the way by her erstwhile employer.
Finding out why – and how – is the crux of a “never-saw-that-coming” denouement that had me racing
to get to the last page.
In addition, Antonia has a complex backstory of her own, the details of which add multifaceted
intricacies to her already multi-layered character. This, when read into, explains why she is who she is and why she does
what she does.
This, folks, is mystery/romance fiction at its captivating best – right up there with Aunt
Dimity! – all couched in the resplendent – as well as mouth-watering – diverse and interesting culture of
the Hamptons. These reads are so almost real, you’d think you were actually in the Hamptons sitting in Antonia’s
restaurant or walking the sandy, sun-lit beaches... without ever having to pack and leave the comfort of you own home.
In my humble opinion, Carrie Doyle’s most enjoyable whodunnits should be added to every adult’s summer
Enjoy the read(s)!
J. McInerney, the host of this Literary Blog, is
an author, poet, and librettist. Her currently published works include a novel, a book of spiritual inspirations,
volumes of poetry, stories
for children (of all ages) and
a variety of children's musicals. Her titles include:
Phoenix Hose, Hook & Ladder: A Novel of Phoenixville during World War I
Hotel: A Novel of Phoenixville during the Early 1900s
the Schuylkill Monster: A Novel of
Phoenixville in 1978
The Prisoner's Portrait: A Novel of Phoenxville during World
Rainbow in the Sky
of Oreigh Ogglefont
The Basset Chronicles.
Cats of Nine Tales
Water: A Collection of Poems
Exodus Ending: A
Collection of More Spiritual Poems
We Three Kings
Beauty and the Beast
Peter, Wolf, and Red Riding
Originally from the New York metropolitan area, June currently lives near Valley Forge Park in Pennsylvania with her constant and loving companions, FrankieBernard and Sebastian Cat. She
is currently working on her sixth novel.