I'm a reader. I always have been, and though it's been awhile since I've read a good whodunnit, this one drew me in quickly. And for a couple of reasons. The author, Tom Collins, (love his name by the way) is from Nashville and centers his storylines around the city. I have always been drawn to books that are set in North Carolina too. There is just some sort of indescribable familiarity about reading a book that is set where you live. It's comforting, and makes you instantly feel that you "know" the characters somehow.
But back to The Claret Murders, the other BIG reason I wanted to read this one was that it is not only set in Nashville, but it is set during the Nashville flood. In case you don't remember, that was a very real thing that happened just three years ago. I lived through that awful weekend with my then boyfriend (and now husband), John. For Nashvillians, it is one of those events that you will always remember. The city was literally under water. Interstates were flooded, cars stranded and destroyed. People lost their homes, their property, and in some cases, their lives.
That weekend started as any other. We had plans to meet friends for dinner on Friday night. It had started raining already, and there were reports of localized flooding. Some of our friends bailed for dinner that night. But not us. We went out, but made it a short night because of the local news reports urging people off the roads. The weekend took a turn for the worse as we received over 20 inches of rain in two short days. With large rivers running right through town, they quickly flooded their banks and caused more damage than could have ever been imagined. It has been renamed the "1000 Year Flood" because floods of this magnitude just don't happen. So you can see my interest in this book. It is a fictional work, but again, the setting made it extra real for me.
Here is the summary, courtesy of Amazon:
"An inheritance at risk and the discovery of an extraordinary cache of old wines during a history-making flood leads to foul play and death in this Mark Rollins mystery adventure. The old man finished a glass of wine-his favorite claret-went to bed, and died. Now more than fifty years later, a stunningly beautiful Nashville attorney, Ann Sims, is preparing to auction off his estate-a derelict old mansion with its long-forgotten secret. Sims has lived with a secret of her own, a secret that could cost her the fortune she is in line to inherit and end her career. Beautiful women can make poor choices in men. She is no exception. Afraid, for good reason, of the possessive and greedy men in her life, she turns to Mark Rollins for protection. Rollins, the central character in Collins' mysteries, is a modern-day hero-a protector, problem solver, and crime fighter. His "superhero-like" powers are technology, extraordinary wealth, and friends in high places. This time his technology is failing him as he tries to keep Ann Sims alive-his efforts thwarted by Nashville's failing infrastructure in the wake of the massive storm and flood that provides cover for bad things."
For me, this book had all the classic whodunnit elements. There was the ingenue with a mysterious past and a growing number of acquaintances who were racking up the motives to do her harm. And just when you think you have it all figured out, the plot turns in another direction completely. I was a fan of this book, although I am not usually one to start anything in the middle of series, and I inadvertently did with this one. This book is part of a series called The Mark Rollins Adventures. This particular book is the most recent of this series. So I may actually backtrack a bit now and see what lead up to this adventure. This one was a goodie, so plan to bookmark it for a read this summer.
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This post contains affiliate links.