A pre-Internet murder mystery set on Cape Cod in the 1980s, "Hide and Seek" tells a murder mystery backwards: we know the identity of the murderer, but not that of the detective. David Draper, scion of an old, wealthy Boston family, meets the lovely actress Melanie Carson at one of his Aunt Grace's fabulous Beacon Hill costume parties. As they become romantically involved, David grows increasingly and wildly jealous of the elusive, secretive, and ultimately disloyal Melanie, finally murdering her in her North End apartment in a fit of rage.
Because David has covered his tracks, Detective Gallivan of the Boston Police does not suspect him of the crime, and David feels he is in the clear. But six months later, David's close sister Dorothy (Dots) invites both David and their Aunt Grace to a Murder Mystery Weekend at an old courthouse turned venerable hotel on a tiny island just off the east coast of the Cape.
David is hesitant, but his suspicions turn to alarm as he realizes that someone among the cast of participants in the murder mystery weekend is out to catch the murderer of Melanie. When the pretend corpse is dressed, down to Melanie's unusual lipstick color, to resemble Melanie, David becomes convinced one of the guests is in fact a real detective on the hunt.
Unfortunately for David, everyone in the game must play detective, and so everyone looks suspicious! It's a race against time as David must determine motive and opportunity to figure out the real detective before said detective fingers David as the real murderer. His work is complicated by the fact that he is unnervingly assigned the part of the secret murderer in the game they are ostensibly playing. He must detect the detective among guests that include the effete British Lord Alfred; a hard-boiled insurance salesman from Providence, Rhode Island; a beautiful female psychologist from Boston; David's own Miss Marple-like aunt and his Nancy Drewish sister; and even a Boston priest, Father Cerubini. Or could the detective be the mysterious and sullen hotelier John Fredericks or, perhaps, his crazy wife-in-the-attic Elaine? Or is it, after all, the one person at the weekend game who is an actual detective as well as friend of Aunt Grace, Detective Gallivan from Boston?
As David finds to his horror, each member of the cast has not only a connection to Melanie but also a reason to want to avenge her murderer. David must carefully outwit the stealth detective by intuiting his way through a reverse mystery in which the game is deadly serious-and what he thinks is serious might be but the tricks of paranoia. Are the guests out to get David as the game murderer, or is their pursuit much more than a game?
"Hide and Seek" is a psychologically suspenseful, edge-of-your-seat page-turner that weaves together strands of the major genres of crime fiction, from British detective puzzle to American hard-boiled whodunit, from old Miss Marple detective to Nancy Drew girl-sleuth, from scientist and doctor to patient, from priest to sinner.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.51(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
An interesting telling of this murder mystery, this book is fun, like a game of Clue except we already know who the murderer is, who was murdered, how, why, and where. We know this because it happens very near the beginning of the book. Or do we? Thomas Kaplan-Maxfield has presented an interesting concept in writing this mystery. He has a descriptive way of writing, extending this to the several characters that are introduced later in the book. The reader needs to pay a lot of attention to wording. The mystery is complex, based on jealousy, greed, and unsavory lifestyle. The story begins with a party hosted by David's Aunt Grace, where he meets a beautiful wraith of a girl, unsubstantial as air yet bewitching and willing. The girl is an actress, and they begin a relationship as mysterious as she is. Totally mesmerized by her, David becomes overcome with jealous thoughts whenever he is not with her. When she is killed, he is overtaken with guilt, grief and loss. Aunt Grace and Dots, his sister, come up with a brilliant idea for a fascinating weekend... the Murder Mystery game being held on a small island off Cape Cod at an old courthouse converted to a Bed and Breakfast, which adds to the atmosphere of the book. Reluctant at first, he finally agrees to join in the fun. Shortly after arrival, there seems to be something more sinister afoot. David is shocked to find that one of the participants is the actual detective who was investigating the murder of Melanie Carson. Not only that, but when the "corpse", Marilyn Carpenter, is found, she is dressed exactly like Melanie was, right down to her silver blonde hair and Melanie's particular shade of lipstick. Even her nails are done the same. Who is playing mind games with David, and why? Is this a trap? When the roles were given out at the beginning of the game, he was designated as the murderer, his aunt designated as the detective. Who is the real detective? This is what David will have to find out as soon as possible. Great characterization, a unique variation on the usual cozy murder mystery, surprises all through, psychological suspense and well-written. My attention was held throughout, my guesses all over the place. This book was fun and I'll be watching for more from this author.