When a minister’s son is accused of murder, Boston lawyer Brady Coyne doesn’t know whom to trust in this “very satisfying caper” (Publishers Weekly).
Desmond Winters has had more trouble than a Unitarian minister deserves. Over six years ago, his wife disappeared with their fourteen-year-old daughter, promising to return someday. The daughter came back after six months; the wife never did. The experience scarred Desmond’s son, Marc, who acted out by getting involved with cocaine smugglers and marrying an exotic dancer. Through all his troubles, Des was counseled by Brady Coyne, a sensitive lawyer to Boston’s elite. But now something has happened that even Brady may not be able to fix: Marc’s wife is dead, and the minister’s son is the prime suspect.
Marc finds Maggie dead in their boat, and calls the police immediately. Brady doesn’t believe Marc murdered his wife, but he also knows that in this family, anything is possible. It could be drugs, it could be the missing mother—but a beautiful young girl is dead, and Brady Coyne needs to know why.
The eighth superior mystery featuring Boston lawyer-sleuth Brady Coyne ( The Dutch Blue Error et al.) begins as a pleasant medium-boiled yarn but ends as a shocking tale of secret horror. Coyne is called in the middle of the night by his long-time client Desmond Winter, a retired Unitarian minister in Newburyport. Maggie, ex-stripper and wife of Des's semi-ne'er-do-well son Marc, has been found on Des's fishing boat, beaten to death. Although Marc isn't arrested, he's clearly the prime suspect, especially since he and Maggie had an ``open'' marriage. Next a lawyer from North Carolina is murdered in a local motel; then another murder strikes Marc closer to home. Behind everything lies the 17-year-old disappearance of Des's wife Connie and its devastating effect on Marc and his sister Kat. A further complication is the affair that seems to be brewing between Coyne and Kat. The plot takes some gothic turns--bastardy, incest, an earlier violent death--but Tapply never neglects his nicely defined characterizations or loses his cool control over narrative tension in this very satisfying caper. Mystery GMystery Guild main selection; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternates.