Secret Beyond the Door (1946) by Rufus King

Secret Beyond the Door by Rufus King

7 Stars (7/10 stars)

“Why is the door locked? Isn’t it complete?”

“Yes,” Earl said, “it is complete, but it will never be on view. It is a luxury with which I intend to indulge no one but my selfish self. It is a secret which shall remain completely mine…Even you shall never see it, Lily.”

All of Lily Constable’s friends are surprised by her whirlwind marriage to newspaper owner Earl Rumney. After all, she’s wealthy in her own right, and still mourning her beloved husband. Even the sweet-natured Lily is starting to wonder if she’s made a mistake. No one seems to want Lily at the isolated Rumney mansion, least of all her new husband. When he isn’t at the paper, Earl is working on his hobby: recreating rooms where famous crimes took place. He’s completed twelve rooms already. Should Lily be afraid of number thirteen? Continue reading “Secret Beyond the Door (1946) by Rufus King”

Murder with Southern Hospitality (1942) by Leslie Ford

Murder with Southern Hospitality by Leslie Ford

5 Stars (5/10 stars)

“I was frightened, all of a sudden. I could feel a pair of eyes raised in the dark, watching me. It was in my imagination, I suppose, because scientists say there’s no such thing as thought transference, but I had the creepy and rather terrifying feeling that there was something sinister there, and that those eyes I couldn’t see, fastened on me, were narrowed and sharply malevolent.”

Miss Letty Drayton left her home in Natchez, Mississippi, decades ago. She never planned to return at all, let alone bring a gaggle of garden-club ladies with her. Yet that’s exactly what’s happened, due to the club president’s unshakable desire to view the famous gardens of Natchez. Miss Letty never could stand up for herself.

When Louise Gould comes to stay at the Drayton mansion, she winds up with more questions than answers about her friend’s past. Why is Letty living an impoverished life in Maryland when she clearly comes from wealth? What is the source of the bad blood between the Draytons and their next-door neighbors, the Heywoods? And is that shadowy figure in the night a ghost, or a more human danger? Continue reading “Murder with Southern Hospitality (1942) by Leslie Ford”

Holiday Homicide (1940) by Rufus King

Book cover of Holiday Homicide by Rufus King (1940)

7 Stars (7/10 stars)

“In any community, no matter how confined by natural barriers, or how small, there is always murder. I’m unfamiliar with the census number of the population that surrounded Cain and Abel but I imagine it must have been quite negligible.”

On New Year’s Day, most New Yorkers are sleeping off the revels of the night before. Myron Jettwick’s sleep is more permanent. The millionaire lies dead on his yacht, and his nephew Bruce knows that only the eccentric detective (and nut fancier) Cotton Moon can solve the crime. Luckily, Moon’s yacht happens to be docked right next door. With the aid of his secretary/bartender Bert Stanley, Moon’s investigation takes him from the East River to the Caribbean in search of a slippery killer—and the even more elusive sapucaia nut. Continue reading “Holiday Homicide (1940) by Rufus King”

Road to Folly (1940) by Leslie Ford

Leslie Ford Road to Folly 01

6 stars (6/10 stars)

“I’m going to get even with all these people,” she said quietly. “So that you won’t even find a daisy where they’ve been.”

“If there’s anything I can do to stop you, let me know, won’t you?” I asked.

“Nobody can stop me, darling. I’ve found my life’s work.”

Folly is an island just south of Charleston and the Ashley River plantations where Road to Folly takes place. Folly is also a foolish mistake, and all the characters are rushing headlong down that road.

When spoiled heiress Phyllis Lattimer married gentleman farmer Rusty, she expected more of a gentleman and less of a farmer. With her third marriage on the rocks, Phyllis summons her friend Diane Baker to help her through the crisis.

It’s odd what Charleston society will and won’t talk about. Everyone knows that Rusty is in love with Jennifer Reid, that Jennifer has been going around with Phyllis’s ex-husband Bradley Porter, and that Jennifer’s brother killed their father all those years ago. Yet no one discusses these things openly, until Phyllis tears through their lives on a mission of vengeance.

Everyone also knows that there is no divorce in the state, repeatedly telling Diane, “Death is the only release from marriage in South Carolina.” And they’re dead right.

Continue reading “Road to Folly (1940) by Leslie Ford”