18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2007
History has long tentacles. We should never forget that little factoid.
Being of the same age as the author of this book, I'm still always boggled by her descriptions of the events of her younger years, as her main character Kate Kennedy reminisces about growing up in the New York area in the 50s and 60s. I didn't live there, but the events that formed our world were certainly the same.
Now, Kate is a widow, living in Florida, in a condo complex full of other senior folk, including her former sister-in-law Marlene. Just like everywhere, some of the other inhabitants are folks you might like to know better, and some you could happily do without.
One who readily falls into that latter category is Uncle Weatherwise, a former weather forecaster on TV, who knows secrets and blabs them, as well. When a hurricane alert pushes all the residents out of the building and into a safe space, no one is very surprised when his body is found, in very close proximity to a weather vane.
As the investigation begins, Uncle's ties to other residents become exposed, and before long, everyone is not only a suspect in his murder, but another that soon follows, but they all seem to be connected to each other, somehow. Someone whispers a name and a date to Kate - `Kirk Island, 1950' and she is not only flung into the past, but takes us along with her, to that perilous time in our country's history. It was the summer of the beginning of the Korean conflict, and the vigorous pursuit of communism and the spy trials of the Rosenbergs, and . . .
Author Nora Charles lays out all the clues and spins an engaging tale while juggling the two summers, some 55 years apart to find out how what happened then impinges on what's happening now. I thought it brilliantly done.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2007
Hurricane Homicide is billed as a Senior Sleuth Mystery, and features Kate Kennedy. It is set in a seniors condo building during hurricane season and the murder and the resolution both take place during hurricanes, which adds a nice symmetry to the story.
While I am quite a ways from being a senior citizen, I enjoyed this book. The characters are interesting, the setting is both different and interesting, and the plot is particularly noteworthy. It quickly becomes clear that many of the occupants of this condo building are from New York and share a common event in their past. I can't reveal more without giving too much away, but I can say that you will be intrigued and impressed by the plot, in which Charles does a lovely job of weaving together fiction and historical detail.
Charles has created some great characters for us. Kate Kennedy is the widow of a police officer and plays the straight man to her childhood best friend and former sister-in-law Marlene, the flamboyant Rosie O'Grady, a retired Radio City Rockette, and Mary Frances, a former nun who is contemplating losing her virginity. When another of their neighbors is murdered during a hurricane evacuation, Kate and Marlene start to dig up the dirt on their fellow seniors and ruffle more than a few feathers. The back story on Kate is very interesting and we get to know her well as she dredges her own memories of the events of 1950 for the solution to the current murder.
Favorite character? Has to be Rosie O'Grady. Can I be her when I grow old? Did I guess it? Nope. Will I read another? Absolutely.
Mystery Book Reviews by Liz at [...]
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
When Hurricane Harriet hits Kate Kennedy's seniors' condo, they are rushed in their evacuation because the weather reporter -- Uncle Weatherwise, their newest neighbor - reported that Harriet would miss their area. When Kate walks her sheltie, Ballou, while waiting to return to their homes after the Category 2 hurricane makes landfall as a tropical storm, they happen upon a pile of garbage. Ballou digs up a sneaker that is attached to Uncle Weatherwise, and Kate is, once again, in the middle of a murder investigation. But is there more than meets the eye than just the eye of the storm?
Kate Kennedy moved to south Florida with her husband Charlie for retirement, but she is now a widow in the retirement community. She shares a lot of her time with her lifelong friend Marlene, now her sister-in-law. Kate and Marlene are evacuated for Hurricane Harriet, and both are determined to discover who would murder the weather forecaster. When Kate and Marlene return from an outing, they find SJ Corbin, a local realtor, in the lobby, only to discover that she had bought Uncle's condo -- before he died! The two women decide to investigate the situation, including a trip to Miami, and manage to dig up more than clues to a murder -- they dig up history long-forgotten, as well as another corpse. While trying to put the puzzle pieces together, Kate must pull everyone together and pack for another evacuation -- this time for Hurricane Igor, a Category 5 -- but will she make it out in time to unmask the evil within their midst?
This is a pleasant cozy with an interesting twist -- leading us back into unexplored history of the seniors' community residents. Kate's character is aided by the years of listening to and watching her husband work his police position, and her straight-laced character is paired up with the more exuberant Marlene, balancing the two in their exploration of the gruesome events.
I enjoyed the storyline of this cozy mystery, despite not having read the three previous novels in the series. I think that I may have had a better grasp on some of the personalities had I read them, but I didn't feel that there were any gaps in the story because of it. People who know Florida will certainly enjoy the backdrop of the mystery.