WHAT HAPPENS IN FLORIDA…
…could only happen in Florida. St. Elmo, specifically. Just like in the 50s, it’s still the kind of place where a date might be a picnic of tuna sandwiches, and the sheriff the son of an old friend. In the hands of mystery author Michaela Thompson, St. Elmo comes alive with a smattering of “only in Florida” puzzlers: a bootleg war in a hurricane, sunken treasure by a trailer park, a handful of illicit love affairs fraught with seaside small town gossip. As vibrant as their Florida Panhandle backdrop, this series is made up of traditional mysteries notable for the kind of delicately-crafted writing that’ll remind you of Golden Age British yarns, now bundled in a single box set.
The 1950s fairly leap off the page in this classic cozy mystery set in northern Florida in the Eisenhower era, complete with Johnny Ray on the jukebox and a Womanless Wedding—this one interrupted by an explosion at a moonshine still. Lily Trulock, owner of Trulock’s Grocery & Marine Supply, leads a pretty quiet life until a stranger comes to town. The new guy’s not what he appears, but then, some of St. Elmo’s residents aren’t either.
As intricate as a fisherman’s net, Riptide fairly writhes with sinister delights—family secrets, family feuds, lost family fortunes, betrayals, puzzles, sunken treasure… and murder, of course. With a bit of illicit romance and treachery thrown in for seasoning. This rife atmosphere swirls around New york artist Isabel Anders, who’s summoned home to tiny St. Elmo, Florida to deal with an emergency: the aunt who raised her has been brutally—and mysteriously—injured.
In all the years of their marriage, Clara Trent’s husband failed to mention his involvement in a murder—and now he’s not only dead himself, but accused of committing it. When St. Elmo sheriff’s investigator Aaron Malone re-opens the 40-year-old cold case, Ronan Trent’s named—posthumously—as the killer of his previous lover, a vivacious blonde with a jealous husband. Clara’s discovery of sensuous drawings of the woman, unlike any of her husband’s other work, reveals a carefully concealed obsession.