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Deadly Summer Nights: 06/04/22
Deadly Summer Nights by Vicki Delany and Jennifer Van Dyck is the start of the Catskill Summer Resort mystery series. Set in 1953 it involves a drowning at the resort's lake and a Red scare. Elizabeth Grady is the daughter of the owner of Haggerman's Catskills Resort. She's also the one who discovers the body of the man who had rented out isolated cabin 19 for the entire summer. Before she can even change out of her wet clothes the FBI are called and there's rumors flying that the man was part of a communist cell.
I have to admit I didn't realize this mystery series was also historical fiction as the author's other series are contemporary. I bought the audio on the basis of the author alone. I didn't even bother to read the blurb. The blurb, though, uses Dirty Dancing as it's example and I haven't seen the film, so it wouldn't have been much help either.
Setting the mystery in 1953, though, changes up the expectations. There is no internet, no cellphones, no easy access to information for Elizabeth, or anyone else. That means sleuthing has to rely on personal knowledge and the ability to piece together what everyone else knows.
Interestingly, the communist red herring is pretty quickly dismissed by nearly everyone, including the FBI. Yes the come. Yes they take away some evidence. But that's the extent of their bit before they toss the case back at the local authorities. Their disinterest is by far the most salient clue for the observant reader.
Despite being set sixty-eight years in the past from when it was published, the themes and tropes are ones I've seen in other mysteries published in the last couple years. The mystery continues with the cozy mystery's turn away from the police being automatically trustworthy. There continues to be a distrust of authority.
The second book A Deadly Director's Cut was released March 1st of this year.