Murder at the Ocean Forest by Digger Cartwright
Murder at the Ocean Forest tells the story of a young wealthy couple whose South Carolinian vacation turns into a nightmare. Faye and Terence Underwood have a tenuous marriage. She suspects him of womanizing. He suspects her of imagining things. While vacationing at the historic Ocean Forest Hotel at Myrtle Beach, Faye mysteriously disappears. What follows is a convoluted, mind-boggling, and haunting murder investigation.
Robert ‘Digger’ Cartwright, author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels, has produced a mystery that will keep readers on the edge of their seats. Set during World War II, Cartwright’s third person narrative is replete with all the elements associated with that era (Nazis, covert operations, prohibition, Pullman cars) and most particularly high society (Rolls Royce touring limousine, colored help, etc.) Cartwright utilizes a mix of literary tools to keep his novel continually flowing. On top on that list of tools is his skillful use of red herrings to throw readers off guard to the real perpetrator, such as the sense of malevolent ghosts lurking about the hotel. Cartwright not only alternates scenes that zero in on all of his prime and supporting characters, but he also laces his plot with affluent imagery befitting the rich of that time period (environs, dress, references to vintage books, and especially the patriarchal mindset.) Of course, Cartwright’s descriptions are tightly woven into his meticulous character development, which is coupled with irony. Good examples of that include the preacher who raises money for his church by secretly peddling liquor, and the blind clairvoyant woman who has ominous visions of impending disasters. Lastly, Cartwright employs a plethora of narrative twists, especially during the investigation. Murder at the Ocean Forest is, indeed, riveting from cover to cover.
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