Finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark Award
After the death of Elizabeth Parker's great-uncle Martin Reynolds, the family's house in the picturesque Maryland town of St. Michaels is sold. When the new owners dig up the pool, they find the body of the man thought to have run off eight years earlier after embezzling over a million dollars from the family business.
This grisly discovery not only unearths old questions about what really happened to the stolen money, but it brings Detective Joe Muldoon back into the family's lives. Eight years ago Elizabeth's cousin Ann reluctantly broke off her relationship with Joe due to family pressure. Ann always regretted that decision and now fears that it is too late for her and Joe–especially after she becomes the main suspect.
In this clever and entertaining mystery, rich with echoes of Jane Austen's Persuasion, Elizabeth tries to match wits against a killer who's had an eight-year head start as she also tries her hand at matchmaking. Mystery lovers are in for a treat.
Kiely's well-paced if somewhat padded third contemporary mystery featuring Jane Austen fan Elizabeth Parker (after 2010's Murder on the Bride's Side) takes its inspiration from Persuasion. After the death of Elizabeth's wealthy 77-year-old uncle, Martin Reynolds, who battled cancer for years, a body is unearthed during pool renovations at a house Reynolds had owned on Maryland's Eastern Shore. To Elizabeth's horror, the remains turn out to belong to her cousin Ann's jilted fianc , Michael Barrow, who had "the morals of a sewer rat" and disappeared with $1 million embezzled from Uncle Marty's business eight years earlier. But what did Michael do with the money? As Elizabeth searches for answers, family interactions occasionally obscure the story line. Janeites will enjoy tracking the parallels to Persuasion, though they might wish the author had stuck more closely to her model and done a better job developing some secondary characters.