Death on the River Walk (Henrie O Series #5)by Carolyn G. Hart
Pulitzer Prize-winning ex-reporter Henrietta O'Dwyer Collins no longer chases hot stories all over the world, but murderous mysteries seem to find her. This time, a frantic phone call from an old and dear friend on the other side of the world sends Henrie O rushing to the fabled city of San Antonio to check out the baffling disappearance of her friend's devoted granddaughter, Iris Chavez. Iris, employed at the Tesoros Gallery on San Antonio's famous River Walk, has suddenly dropped from sight without a word.
Soon Henrie O discovers that amidst the exquisite objects in the prestigious gallery and among the family members is hidden a dark secretone Henrie O must uncover if she is to find Iris. Late one dark night on the River Walk, Henrie O sees a sprawled body...and realizes that treachery and disgrace lurk in the shadows of an old and respected business...and death awaits anyone daring to uncover the truth.
A recognized master of mystery and spinetingling suspense, Carolyn Hart has written four previous Henrie O mysteries: Dead Man's Island(an Agatha Award winner). Scandal in Fair Haven (nominated for both an Agatha and Macavity Award), Death in Lover's Lane, and Death in Paradise. She has been nominated for and has won multiple Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Awards for the books in her popular Death on Demand series, and is one of the founders of Sisters in Crime. Mrs. Hart lives in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Read an Excerpt
I glanced at the computer printout that rested on the passenger seat of the rental car, a casual picture of a grandmother and granddaughter, arms linked, faces aglow with laughter and love. The bright photograph had been scanned into a computer half a world away and the resulting crisp picture that had issued from my daughter's computer was one of the small miracles that no one remarks in today's technological wonderland. The grandmother, Gina Wilson, was one of my oldest friends, a shining memory from the happiest years of my life. The granddaughter, Iris Chavez, was a child I'd come to know because she spent much of her growing up time with Gina. Iris was near in age to my own granddaughter, Diana.
The faces in the photograph were sharply different, despite their laughter on the day the picture was snapped on a sunny summer afternoon at Laguna. It wasn't simply a matter of age. Gina's short-cropped white hair and Dresden china pale skin and Iris's richly raven curls and creamily dusky complexion made a lovely contrast. Gina's sharply planed features were arresting, her light green eyes curious and skeptical, her smile amused yet with a sardonic undercurrent, as befitted a woman who'd been one of the cleverest political reporters of her time. Iris's face was cherubic, still so young there were no lines. Her eyes were also green, but there was no challenge in Iris's gaze. Instead eagerness vied with uncertainty. Iris's bow of a mouth was marked with brilliantly red lipstick, but the vivid color couldn't hide vulnerability.
The two sets of green eyes were the only real resemblance in the photograph. What had Gina once told me? She'dlooked out the window at Iris playing in the yard and smilingly observed, "Iris is the image of her father, except for her eyes."
Iris. The name brought to my mind the vision of a slim blonde with startlingly blue eyes. But not this Iris. Not Iris Chavez, whom I remembered as a giggling little girl with a mop of curly black hair and later as a plump, eager-to-please teenager. A sweet, bouncy, cheerful girl. I'd not seen his or Gina in several years. Yet when the phone rang yesterday at my daughter's home in east Texas, I'd immediately recognized Gina's voice and just, as swiftly known there was trouble. Or, to be precise, realized immediately that Gina was terribly afraid.
I hoped that soon, very soon, I could call Gina andsay everything was okay. I slowed for a red light, checked my map. Although San Antonio streets often change names, I was finding my way without difficulty. Gina's directions had been clear and careful. Almost there.
Gina hated to ask for help, but there is nothing you won't do, no mile you won't walk, no mountain you won't climb, no effort you won't make for a grandchild. I understand that. I have two grandchildren of my own.
I didn't blame Gina for being frightened. Even though Gina was half a world away, Gina in Majorca, Iris in San Antonio, they kept in close touch by E-mail. At least once or twice a week, they exchanged messages. It was their custom to chat on Saturday morning Iris's time, Saturday afternoon Gina's time in Majorca.
"Nothing, Henrie 0, nothing since last Wednesday. And Iris never misses E-mailing on Saturday mornings without telling me in advance that she will skip. I've sent message after message. I've called and called. There's no answer. I thought of contacting the police. But what could I tell them? That I haven't received an E-mail? That I can't get her on the phone? That's not enough to report her as missing." She paused. "And maybe she's just out of town with a friend. Oh, there could be many reasons. I don't want to embarrass her. But I can't wait any longer." Gina's voice quavered.
E-mail. It links us to the world no matter where we live. It was through a casual E-mail that Gina knew I was visiting my daughter, Emily, and that I was only a three-hour drive from San Antonio, where Iris lived. And yes, my days were free. I was no longer teaching, though I'd decided to keep my home in, the Missouri college town where I'd been on the journalism faculty for several years. And yes, I could easily go to San Antonio and yes, I would do that for my frightened friend.
I'd received Gina's call early this morning. Now, the answer was near. Perhaps I would find Ids at her apartment. If I didn't find her, I would go to the store where she worked and perhaps we'd both laugh andafter she'd called her grandmother, assured her she was fine-Iris would offer to buy me a cold raspa, the shaved-ice confection so dear to San Antonians, and I would stay a few days in this lovely city-what better place to do some early Christmas shopping?--then resume my visit at my daughter's.
I turned to my left, my right, and found the apartment house at the end of the street. I locked my car and stood in the shadow of a palm tree. I hated leaving the windows up. September marks fall in the north. In San Antonio, sunny warm days continue. Oh, an occasional cold front will drop the temperature into the low eighties. Sweat beaded my face. My soft cotton dress clung to me. I took a deep breath of moist air softer than skin lotion.Death on the River Walk. Copyright © by Carolyn Hart. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Meet the Author
An accomplished master of mystery, Carolyn Hart is the author of twenty previous Death on Demand novels. Her books have won multiple Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity Awards. She is also the creator of the Henrie O series, featuring a retired reporter, and the Bailey Ruth series, starring an impetuous, redheaded ghost. One of the founders of Sisters in Crime, Hart lives in Oklahoma City.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Lacked a believeable ending.
Excellent book, spell binding with twists you never expect. Henrietta O is one of my all time favorites.
Had I stopped about halfway through, I would have been tempted to have said 5 stars, but as the book progressed, I became more and more bored until I was desperately wishing it would end. The main character was so annoying that had I been the other characters, I would have bumped her off just to get her out of the book.
Carolyn Hart has delivered another fun addition to her Henrie O series. Ms. Hart has developed a wonderful character in her protagonist. There is something warm and inviting with Henrie O, kind of like a grandmother. The author has also developed her to be smart, brave and very observant. This makes for a very enjoyable series. Unlike Ms. Hart¿s Death of Demand series, this one is a bit more on the serious side, but not so much so that there is not funny moments. Also, Henrie gets to travel around to different locations. With this Ms. Hart adds the pleasure of regional interest into the story. This book is located in San Antonio, so the reader get all kinds of interesting facts about that great city and it¿s culture. Believe it or not, San Antonio has more going for it than the Alamo! Add all this together with Ms. Hart¿s good solid writing and the reader can be guaranteed a good and fun mystery. I would recommend any of Carolyn Hart¿s books to any one who enjoys a good mystery.