A Catskills Summer Resort Mystery: Book 1
Publication Date: September 14, 2021
A summer of fun at a Catskills resort comes to an abrupt end when a guest is found murdered, in this new 1950s set mystery series.
It’s the summer of 1953, and Elizabeth Grady is settling into Haggerman’s Catskills Resort. As a vacation getaway, Haggerman’s is ideal, and although Elizabeth’s ostentatious but well-meaning mother is new to running the resort, Elizabeth is eager to help her organize the guests and the entertainment acts. But Elizabeth will have to resort to untested abilities if she wants to save her mother’s business.
When a reclusive guest is found dead in a lake on the grounds, and a copy of The Communist Manifesto is found in his cabin, the local police chief is convinced that the man was a Russian spy. But Elizabeth isn’t so sure, and with the fate of the resort hanging in the balance, she’ll need to dodge red herrings, withstand the Red Scare, and catch a killer red-handed.
Ms. Delany is a new author to me, but I was engaged from the first page to the last. This cozy mystery has a multitude of characters, plot twists, an amateur sleuth, and a mystery to be solved with lots of red herrings thrown in the way.
Set in the early ’50s in the Catskills at a kitschy resort, the book resonated with me since my family went to a similar resort for long weekends for about ten years. It was easy to visualize the locations, the passageways, the different activities and entertainment, the food and drink along with the mountains, the pool, and the lake since it is reminiscent of many such hotels in the area. Some were even mentioned along with similar small towns, bungalow colonies, and even the roads to get there, which were easy to envision.
Elizabeth Grady has her hands full running the resort her mother inherited. Her mother only gets involved when her fame as a dancer is needed to placate guests or move their thoughts elsewhere and away from the murder committed on site. The police and even the FBI, who are called in to help, don’t seem to be doing much to solve the case. Elizabeth doesn’t need rumors swirling about that Haggerman’s is a communist hotbed, has an unsolved murder with a murderer on the loose, or is a resort that’s going to go under and leave people out of work. All isn’t as it seems, and many of the supporting characters have their own agendas, or so it seems. Elizabeth decides to solve the mystery herself and some of her staff’s help, much to her mother’s chagrin, and does just that!
We get to meet key employees woven throughout the story and some of the people staying at the hotel. We see Elizabeth, her mother, and her aunt who raised her, who’s in charge of housekeeping, in action. There is depth to the characters and layers to the story as a result. There are some love interests for Elizabeth and others, but this is far from a romance, and those parts of the story only scratch the surface. All in all, a neatly tied up whodunnit with nice closure.
Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. She has written more than forty books: clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy. She is currently writing four cozy mystery series: the Tea by the Sea mysteries for Kensington, the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series for Crooked Lane Books, the Catskill Resort mysteries for Penguin Random House, and the Lighthouse Library series (as Eva Gates) for Crooked Lane.
Vicki is a past president of the Crime Writers of Canada and co-founder and organizer of the Women Killing It Crime Writing Festival. Her work has been nominated for the Derringer, the Bony Blithe, the Ontario Library Association Golden Oak, and the Arthur Ellis Awards. Vicki is the recipient of the 2019 Derrick Murdoch Award for contributions to Canadian crime writing. She lives in Prince Edward County, Ontario.
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