Fresh from her first murder case, Nantucket detective Merry Folger is unwillingly sucked into her second.
When Joe Duarte, a fishing boat captain with decades of experience on the wild seas off Nantucket, is swept overboard during a spring storm, his death is pronounced accidental. But his estranged daughter, Del, is convinced it’s murder. She moves back to Nantucket to get closer to the truth, and enlists her old friend, detective Merry Folger, to help. But Del is also hiding secrets of her own, and the police are not inclined to help her with what they see as a wild goose chase. Merry has to defy her boss—her father—in order to investigate.
Nantucket police detective Merry Folger sails surely through choppy seas of murder, insurance fraud and infidelity in her second outing (after Death in the Off-Season). Merry's childhood pal Del Duarte, unmarried and with a two-year-old daughter, returns home for the funeral of her fisherman father, whose death at sea, she believes, was not the simple accident it seemed. Although Merry welcomes the chance to renew their friendship, everyone else in town wonders who fathered the child that caused Del to flee in the first place, and few are happy that she has decided to stay in Nantucket to make a go of fishing herself. First the Town Pier goes up in flames, and then Del is found dead, stabbed with her own harpoon. Merry's father, the police chief, refuses to give her the case; but she can't just ignore her friend's death. Her investigation leads her into Del's past, to a leading developer on the island and to Del's father's brooding, violent first mate. Mathews skillfully incorporates close-knit relationships, small-town gossip and a salty Nantucket flavor as she steers this intricate tale to a satisfying conclusion.
The story felt incomplete. You don’t find out what happens with little Sara, you don’t know what happens with the boats, Jackie, etc., that whole side of the story just ends with no conclusions. So for that, I give it three stars versus 5.