Few men would respond to an attempt on their life with an invitation to the killer to try again. But arrogant, daredevil media magnate Chase Prescott has done just that, while issuing an urgent summons to the one person he trusts to point out the would-be murderer...his long-ago colleague and lover, retired newshound Henrietta O'Dwyer Collins. After a lifetime covering disasters and revolutions, murders and public scandals, Henrie O is more than content to confine her energy to writing mysteries. And her feelings of unease only increase when she arrives at Chase's opulent house on his private island off the South Carolina coast - an island that has more than earned its name. It seems that Chase, with his usual high-octane charm and confidence, never called the police when cyanide-laced candy nearly killed him in his New York home. Instead, he has assembled on Dead Man's Island everyone who could have planted the lethal dose: Miranda, his lovely unstable young wife; Haskell Lee, his sullen stepson whose dreams Chase will not finance; his son Roger Prescott, afire for Prescott Communications to cover environmental and social issues instead of capitalist concerns; and his platinum-haired ex-sister-in-law Valerie St. Vincent, a beauty desperate for the money to stage her Broadway comeback. And then there is Chase's staff - from his Type A heir apparent to his toady of a secretary - who have their own secret ambitions. When Chase barely escapes a murderous spray of bullets on a secluded sandy beach, Henrie O unearths a will, an insurance policy, and a scurrilous unauthorized biography that could give any one of Chase's intimate circle an even graver motive for murder. But which one? Now Henrie O's sharp writer's mind must work overtime, as a killer hurricane sweeps up from Cuba to maroon the lot of them in this vacation hell...where the trappings of luxury are soon put to deadly use, and where the secrets of the past threaten to engulf them all.
In this action-packed series launch, the author of the Death on Demand mysteries introduces Henrietta O'Dwyer Collins, a widowed former reporter whose investigative instincts have not been blunted by retirement. Forty years after their love affair ended, media magnate Chase Prescott calls ``Henrie O'' for help in figuring out who tried to kill him with poisoned candy. He invites her and all those he suspects of wanting him dead to his private island off the coast of South Carolina, hoping that Henrie will be able to ferret out the identity of his would-be killer. While a brewing hurricane threatens the island, Henrie faces a full roster of suspects: Chase's young third wife; his second wife's sister; his idealistic sons; a sly secretary; the purported heir-apparent to Chase's empire; his firm's general counsel; and a surly, abusive employee. Feisty and incisive, Henrie tries valiantly to determine who is behind further attempts on Chase's life while the storm, a would-be killer of a different sort, gathers. Two people are murdered; the hurricane shears wings off the mansion and redoubtable Henrie figures out the motives and the murderer in a tumultuous resolution. (Aug.)
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May 30, 1994
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