Ex-reporter Henrietta "Henrie 0" O'Dwyer Collins joins a wedding party in glorious Bermuda -- only to discover that death is an uninvited guest.
Warm turquoise waters and balmy ocean breezes do little to ease Henrie O's discomfort at having to attend the wedding of her ex-son-in-law Lloyd to Connor Bailey, a beautiful widow with a dark past and a knack for attracting men. Recently recovered from pneumonia, the retired Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist joins her grandchildren at an elegant oceanfront hotel -- and is soon embroiled in a deadly puzzle that touches everyone connected with the impending union.
In this highly entertaining puzzle (after 1999's Death on the River Walk), 70-ish sleuth Henrietta O'Dwyer Collins (aka Henrie O) is in a somber, reflective mode, as befits her age and her life experiences. Recovering from pneumonia, Henrie O isn't sure she feels up to the task of dealing with the emotional maelstrom stewing around the Bermuda wedding of her son-in-law, Lloyd Drake, and beautiful Connor Bailey, a wealthy widow. A granddaughter, unhappy about her father's marriage, is bent on making mischief, while the bride-to-be can't seem to stop herself from attracting the attentions of any male within eyeshot. Lloyd doesn't cope well with his fiancee's penchant for flirtation, and Connor's lawyer, Steve Jennings, appears to have more than Connor's financial interests at heart. The hotel where the party has gathered witnessed tragedy the year before, when Roddy Worrell, the manager's husband, plunged to his death from a tower. According to rumor, Roddy had been infatuated with Connor, who spurned his advances. When a ghost is sighted at the tower, word spreads that Roddy has come back to haunt Connor. The subsequent death of a hotel employee who knew more than he should about the apparition puts Henrie O on the murder scent once again. This series has a deeper and darker emotional texture than Hart's more lively and lighthearted Death on Demand series, but her fans will enjoy the complex plot, local color and vivid characters.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
-- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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March 05, 2002
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Excerpt from Resort to Murder by Carolyn Hart
The honeycomb-weathered limestone, prickly as tiny needles, poked into my hands. I edged my sneakered feet on the narrow trail and pressed against the outward-bowing boulder. A wave crashed on the rock pinnacles beneath me, the water swishing with a thousand eager fingers into the crannies of the cliff, relentlessly sculpting the ancient fissures.
The grainy rock, the thunderous crash of the waves, the fine mist beading my face and hands, the scent of seaweed and salt water enveloped me, creating an embryonic world confined to this place, this moment, these sensations. Slowly, carefully, knowing a false step could tumble me onto the rock pinnacles below, I moved ahead, easing around the bulge.
I felt a moment of triumph when I saw a widening shelf, a three-foot indentation invisible from the rocky headland above, cupped on either side by jutting boulders. Trails lead somewhere. I'd followed the faint ridge in the rock and my gamble had paid off.
Breathing hard, I dropped shakily to the mist-slick ledge, drew my knees up under my chin and looked out at the dark surging ocean. I watched as the pink tendrils of sunrise turned the water from the blackness of night to vivid color. I don't know how long I sat, long enough for the sky to move from a milky opalescence, streaked with red and gold, to a pale cloudless blue. I looked south at the distant horizon and knew there was nothing beyond that meeting of sky and sea but hundreds of miles of water. Ships were out there, of course, and birds and ocean flotsam, but at this moment nothing moved on that endless horizon and I had this spectacular marine world to myself.
My lips quirked in a wry smile. That was always the problem, wasn't it? Wherever you go, the old saying points out, there you are. Here I was, recuperating from pneumonia, a guest at Tower Ridge House, one of Bermuda's lovelier small hotels, and yet I was not at peace. Instead, I was trying to empty my mind of fleeting images jostling and tumbling as unpleasantly as modern television's witless flip-flip-flip of pictures. I'd pushed those images away, submerged them in the moment of struggle on the rock face, savoring the challenge, glorying in the feel of sun and mist on my skin and the sensation -- one I'd not had in many years -- of sheer adventure.
I cocked my head, watched a flock of terns diving for fish. I'd had an instant of fun, the kind of fun you know when you are ten and the limbs of a tree beckon you high above a garden or the roller-coaster crests the rise and plunges down the slope. But I wasn't ten. I was seventy-odd and, truth to tell, had no damn business clinging to slick rock with waves crashing beneath me. Besides, now that I was alone in my retreat, the images could not be denied:
Diana slumped in the window seat, staring determinedly out of the airplane at the expanse of ocean, her young jaw set, a tear trickling down her cheek. She had her mother's delicate, almost sharp, features, her father's fair complexion and reddish-gold hair. Lovely Diana, my cherished granddaughter, facing a future she could not alter and was unwilling to accept.
Dark-haired Neal astride the bright red scooter, remembering to stay left on the steep hill, shouting, "Hey, Grandma, hold tight," his voice exuberant, but his sideways glance at his sister somber and concerned. Chunky, blunt-faced, direct, uncompromising, my adored grandson. Neal, though, was always pragmatic. What would be, would be.
And the others:
Lloyd Drake, my former son-in-law, raising his champagne glass, earnest face flushed: "To Connor, the loveliest woman I know.