Murder at the Ocean Forest
By Robert ‘Digger’ Cartwright
Paperback: 374 pages
Review by V. Caine
Set in the time of World War II in Southern Carolina, Murder at the Ocean Forest introduces us to the tale of the unhappy marriage of Terence and Faye Underwood. Despite their unhappy marriage, because of the risk of scandal they cannot get divorced.
But when Faye disappears detective Feltus Boone La Mont has to be drawn in to investigate – and of course, Faye’s husband is the primary suspect of the investigation and all evidence points towards him as the murderer. That is, until the moment when Feltus arrives to serve him with an arrest warrant…only to find Terence dead and the door locked from the inside.
From here on in the plot follows the lines of a classic Agatha Christie style murder-mystery, with intrigue, twists, sub-plots and drama by the plenty. The characters involved in the investigation are interesting ones, and not boring everyday people – for example there is Elizabeth Bascomb – a blind psychic, and Preacher Cooper, a priest – and true to the murder-mystery formula, Feltus exposes all their hidden secrets. Meanwhile, in the background, a devastating hurricane rages.
The characters are immensely well rounded and three dimensional, each with flaws, assets and well fleshed out thoughts and feelings, which makes it all the better to keep the suspense rolling and the readers guessing as to the motivations for the murders.
The story of the Grey Man adds a very interesting subplot with a supernatural flavour twist to this classic murder mystery, and I found this aspect most enjoyable. Could a ghost be involved in the murders? At the grand finale the supernatural theme continues with a séance in which the murdered spirit is summoned….and it has many revelations which led toward an astonishing scene and a surprise ending that will keep the readers guessing right until the end of the book.
You can get a copy of Murder at the Ocean Forest here