Gerald Darnell, the author, correctly describes his book, Murder and More, as a quick read. This fiction – murder mystery story is set in the early 1960’s. Doctor Henry Beaumont is a successful surgeon. He and his wife, Ava Beaumont, have been married for about ten years, but he has not been faithful to his wife. He is having an affair with a stunning lady, Olivia Hartley. Ava hires Mr. Donovan Tanner, a private detective, to get some dirt on her husband that she could use against him in her planned divorce case; however, this detective gets more dirt than either of them had anticipated. These documents that he has collected against Mr. Beaumont have the potential of throwing him behind the bars; if he goes to prison, then Ava would have to say goodbye to all the money that she intends to grab in her divorce. The stakes are high and both, Mr. Tanner and Mrs. Ava Beaumont, know it. Therefore, he begins blackmailing Ava. To take care of this threat, she turns to Drake Detective Agency and asks Mr. Carson Reno to bring those documents to her by paying that blackmailer. This does not seem a very complicated assignment;however, things take a nasty turn when Mr. Donovan Tanner never shows up to collect money and, to add to the complications, Mr. Henry Beaumont’s shows up dead. Police lock up the wife, and she hires Mr. Reno to find out the murderer. Suddenly, his plans to enjoy a good weather goes into the trash, and he finds out that this case was not too easy, after all.
The blood filled murder mystery of Sidney Sheldon in Rage of Angels still gives me chills, and I have steered clear of the traumatic stories of this kind. One more thing that troubled me in the previous books were the endless names and characters. It is hard to keep up, and by the time I reached the last chapter of these books, I would usually forget the name of half the characters. I would refer to my notes over and over, which eliminates half the fun of reading a mystery. However, Gerald W. Darnell has taken care of this problem in Murder and More. First, he has not filled the pages with unnecessary and horrifying violence. Second, he has listed the details of the characters before starting the story. An addition of this little reference page would prove to be very helpful to many readers, who tend to forget the names. The graphics that he has used to keep his readers entertained are commendable. I had admired the usage of graphics in another book A Dance with the Corporate Ton by Lata Subramanian; however, both the books use the graphics for an entirely different purpose, and yet, the result remains the same: It breaks the monotonous flow of words and amuses the readers. In his book, Gerald has posted images of hotels, cars, packs of cigarettes among many other objects. Here is an image of Royal Sonesta hotel from the book:
Gerald wrote Murder and More in the narrative writing style. Instead of only narrating the plot and characters, he gave an insight into the architecture, lifestyle, and weather of Memphis, Florida, and other places that were involved. The plot starts slow but quickly picks up a good pace. He has not dragged the story to fill pages; rather, kept it short and sweet. Being a mystery genre, twists in the plot are expected, and readers would not be disappointed by various twists. The light usage of humor is very refreshing as it provides an escape from all the seriousness of the plot. For many chapters, Carson’s detective skills did not kick in, and he did not shy away from laughing about it, which, to me, was quite amusing. The tone of the book is quite casual, and I liked reading it. Although he has not spent a lot of time describing physical attributes of each character, his limited depiction helped in drawing an image of the individuals. The characters are believable; however, I would have liked a little bit more insight into the personality of Carson.
Having said that there were a few things which seemed repetitive to me. The “huh?” response of Carson to almost everything in the beginning. Saying “huh?” to the confusing pieces of information is logical; however, half the things were not that complicated. Throughout the book, Carson’s mention of weather being very nice, and people smoking their cigarettes in his direction was a tad wearisome.
Anyways, the author delivered what he promised, which is a fast read. The presentation of the book and his narration of the story is quite admirable. I would recommend this book to the mystery lovers who wish to read a quick murder mystery that does not involve a lot of blood shedding and emotional drama.
P.S. I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.