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Death in a Cold Hard Light: Mathews, Francine

Death in a Cold Hard Light

Mathews, Francine

135 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0553104640 / ISBN 13: 9780553104646
Published by Westminster, Maryland, U.S.A.: Bantam Dell Pub Group, 1998
Condition: Fine Hardcover
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First printing. Signed by author on title page without inscription. Dust jacket has very light shelf wear and is slightly wavy. Otherwise fine. Protected in mylar, packaged in a box, and shipped promptly with delivery confirmation. Conscientious customer care a given. Bookseller Inventory # ABE-10225094608

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Death in a Cold Hard Light

Publisher: Westminster, Maryland, U.S.A.: Bantam Dell Pub Group

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title

Synopsis:

In Francine Mathews's Death in A Mood Indigo, Detective Meredith Folger's career hit new heights of terror and self-doubt.  Now Merry is more than ready for a peaceful vacation, or maybe even wedding plans.  So she is not pleased when her police chief father calls her home from Greenwich to investigate what looks like an accidental drowning.

The Coast Guard has just pulled a lifeless body from the frigid waters near the harbor jetties.  Twenty-one-year-old Jay Santorski--athlete, Harvard scholar, and part-time scalloper--should never have drowned in the December seas.  What was the young man doing out alone in the storm-churned bay? And where is Merry's police detective colleague, the shiftless Matt Bailey, who vanished the night Santorski died?

Over the objections of her fiancÚ Peter, Merry flies back to the island in the teeth of a nor'easter to start the investigation into the scalloper's death.  But as she questions Santorski's co-workers, friends, and housemates, the truth of the scalloper's character seems ever more elusive.  Was Jay an honest and caring friend--or a sneak thief? Did he really use heroin, or was he a health-conscious triathlete who feared addictive drugs? Why did he drop out of Harvard so suddenly, when marine biology meant so much to him? And why did he die with the missing Matt Bailey's phone number in his pocket?

Dead ends and false leads confront Merry at every turn--and Police Chief John Folger is behind too many of them.  As Merry delves further into the mystery of Jay Santorski, she feels increasingly isolated.  For the first time, she cannot trust her lifelong role model--her own father.

Forced to continue her search alone, Merry plunges into Jay's private world--a world of warring obsessions...between truth and seduction, addiction and redemption, between two women vying for possession of his soul: Hannah Moore, the brilliant and ruthless marine biologist, and Margot St. John, a blues singer with a mortal habit.  Behind them stands Owen Harley, Jay's friend and employer, a man with some obsessions of his own.

To learn what really happened in the midnight waters off Old North Wharf, Merry must confront the truth of her own past.  It's a case that will test her loyalties and strain her ties to the people she loves most.  What, finally, is more important--her need for justice, or for Peter Mason? Should she shield her father, or force him to shoulder his share of the blame? When a second body is found, her choice becomes agonizingly clear.  Merry cannot allow a dangerous killer to strike again....

Review:

During Nantucket's annual Christmas Stroll, the island's shop windows are filled with quaint wool blankets and antique barometers in an attempt to add some holiday cheer (and tourist dollars) to the area by encouraging wealthy mainlanders out to the island. But when a boatload of tourists rolls by a floating corpse on the way into town, it puts an inevitable damper on the festivities.

The drowned body turns out to be that of a young Harvard scholar-turned-scalloper with needle marks in his arm, and Merry is called home from vacation by her father, police chief John Folger, to investigate the drug-induced accident. Investigate an accident? Merry decides her father must know more than he's telling and, with a quick stop at the morgue, her hunch is confirmed. How did her father know to look for the pinprick-sized needle marks in the man's upper arm? Why did her father so confidently mention heroin as the cause of death when the patient's autopsy suggests otherwise: the pupil in his one remaining eye is dilated rather than constricted, the usual sign of heroin use.

Merry's fully aware of her precarious situation. By solving the case, she'll most likely uncover the damaging evidence that her father's withholding; by failing to solve it, she'll lose her father's professional respect, which Merry's afraid she may have already lost after having botched her last homicide case. But she can't stop puzzling over one question: Why would a man with something to hide want his own daughter to investigate the case?

Mathews has used the Nantucket backdrop to full effect; the island's raw, blustery weather sets an eerie scene, whether it's during a young woman's phone call to her dead friend or when two teenagers dredge up scallops and some revealing jetsam. Mathews may have tried to cover too much ground in Death in a Cold Hard Light, bringing Merry's professional credibility as well as her relationship with her father and her soon-to-be fiancé into the picture, but the book is at its most intriguing when it focuses on the puzzling case itself. --Kris Law

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