This is the seventh in an interminable mysteries series starring the affable Sheriff Ray Elkins, up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I know I have read at least one other book in this series, but maybe it was before I started the blog, because it isn’t in the archives. I looked over his titles, but they all look familiar.
The sheriff is a kayaker and in the other book I read, met a nice lady doctor living near the lake and who also kayaks. You know, talk about your luck, right?
In this book, Ray is called to a private colony on the lake for a screwball holing up in one of the empty cottages in the colony and who eventually conveniently ends the standoff by blowing himself up. That is when Ray becomes acquainted with the colony and its resident manager. He also meets the colony’s most annoying personage, a wealthy man who is bossy beyond belief and annoying as aich ee double hockey sticks. He no longer lives in the colony but has built a huge house on the adjacent cliff. He stays involved in the colony affairs because he provides a not of money to keep things running.
The colony every year puts on a play in their rattletrap theater, this time it is Agatha Christie’s Murder at the Vicarage, which entails Scene Two opening on a man slumped on his desk, dead. The annoying guy wants to be involved in the play, but this year has no time to learn lines, so asks for the part of the dead guy. Everyone thinks that is funny…. until the night of the play and he is found actually and truly dead slumped onto the desk, ready for the curtain to open.
So the mystery is a classic, with lots of suspects because NOBODY liked the guy, and some had lost retirement money which was invested with his company, and there is an ex-wife living in the colony and who had a part in the play, his daughter-in-law who was also his lawyer, an alcoholic current wife, a son, some employees, you know, the usual suspects.
It ended with the Christie trope of all the suspects gathered in a room, (but not called together by the Sheriff but there in order to plan the funeral), and rather than the conversation being centered on funeral arrangements became a party of who shot John accusations, with the guilty person suddenly pulling out a gun…… sigh. I was really disappointed in this ending.
Frankly, I didn’t even bother trying to figure out who done it, because the whole thing was just a canned version of every other mystery you have ever read. I guess by the time to get to the seventh in a series, you can just phone it in.