Deadly Summer Nights by Vicki DelanyDeadly Summer Nights by Vicki Delany
Series: A Catskill Summer Resort Mystery #1
Published by Berkley on September 14, 2021
Source: Gift
Genres: Cozy Mystery, Historical Mystery
Pages: 289
Format: Paperback
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A summer of fun at a Catskills resort comes to an abrupt end when a guest is found murdered, in this new 1950s set mystery series.

It's the summer of 1953, and Elizabeth Grady is settling into Haggerman's Catskills Resort. As a vacation getaway, Haggerman's is ideal, and although Elizabeth's ostentatious but well-meaning mother is new to running the resort, Elizabeth is eager to help her organize the guests and the entertainment acts. But Elizabeth will have to resort to untested abilities if she wants to save her mother's business.

When a reclusive guest is found dead in a lake on the grounds, and a copy of The Communist Manifesto is found in his cabin, the local police chief is convinced that the man was a Russian spy. But Elizabeth isn't so sure, and with the fate of the resort hanging in the balance, she'll need to dodge red herrings, withstand the Red Scare, and catch a killer red-handed.

Deadly Summer Nights is set in 1953 in the Catskills. Elizabeth Grady, a bookkeeper in New York City, was convinced by her mother, Olivia, to manage Haggerman’s Resort, which Olivia recently inherited. Elizabeth has her work cut out for her dealing with guests and staff, then, to top it all off, one of the guests ends up dead, murdered and left floating in the lake. The local police find a copy of The Communist Manifesto in the man’s cottage and the rumors that the resort is harboring communists start flying. Elizabeth is anxious to solve this mystery as soon as possible and save the resort’s reputation.

The setting is so fun. I love the resort with all its activities and entertainment. The clothes and drinks and slang were perfect, too. Elizabeth is a good protagonist, smart and level-headed, but not unemotional. Her mom, Olivia, a former actress, is a blast. She knows how to exude charm and when to offer free drinks. Elizabeth’s best friend, Velvet, organizes the outdoor activities and her Aunt Tatiana is head of housekeeping. We also have an adorable English bulldog, Winston, who belongs to Tatiana and tends to get the run of the resort.

The mystery itself was fine. There were plenty of potential suspects and red herrings. The plot line that I was annoyed with ended up making sense when the killer was revealed, so I can’t really complain about it too much. Overall, it was a good read. It would have been a nice one to read by the pool in the summer.

About Vicki Delany

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers and a national bestseller in the U.S. She has written more than thirty books: clever cozies to Gothic thrillers to gritty police procedurals, to historical fiction and novellas for adult literacy. She is currently writing three cozy mystery series: the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series for Crooked Lane, the Year Round Christmas mysteries for Penguin Random House and, as Eva Gates, the Lighthouse Library series, for Crooked Lane Books.

Vicki lives and writes in bucolic Prince Edward County, Ontario. She is a past president of the Crime Writers of Canada. Her work has been nominated for the Derringer, the Bony Blithe, the Ontario Library Association Golden Oak, and the Arthur Ellis Awards.

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