‘The deceased was poisoned by a yet to be identified toxin’
Belgium born author Hugo Uyttenhove now lives in the US where he earned his PhD in System Science from Binghamton University. He obviously loves art and history and holds a particular passion for Flemish and Dutch paintings. His novels to date are GRAND LARCENY: THE HEIST OF THE FLEMISH PRIMITIVES, REMBRANDT REDUX: Tom Rden Book 1 (both of which have become screenplays), THE DA VINCI CLOTH (Tom Arden Book 2), and now MUD CAKE FOR BREAKFAST, the first volume of his new series, A Carolina Arbors Murder Series Book 1. He now lives in North Carolina.
This time ‘round Hugo offers his talent along with ‘the Thursday Afternoon Sleuths, and he informs us of this decision in a brief Note that opens the book: ’This book is a collaboration of the members of the Thursday Afternoon Sleuths Book Club (T.A. Sleuths) at Carolina Arbors, a Del Webb Community in Durham, North Carolina. Having read thousands of murder mystery books combined, members took a first stab at contributing to their own novel. The story takes place in their community and provides authenticity to their stories; after the first chapter has been written by Hugo Uyttenhove, each character claims to either know the murderer or, unwittingly perhaps, show why they are suspects in a neighbor’s murder. Using the characters, the main author elaborated on their interactions with Detective Vinder. The reader is invited to play detective reading between the lines and figuring out who of the many characters has a stake in the killing of a not well liked neighbor. However, don’t fear, you get help when a real detective eliminates the false claims on after another until the true murder plot is revealed…’
The unique approach to writing works very well indeed. The manner in which Hugo interplays with the other ‘authors’ is contagiously entertaining and the quality of writing, though varying from input to input, is surprising strong. This makes us wonder about the background of these nascent authors!
The story is particularly excellent: ‘Jerry Cornwall is not liked in the 55+ communicate called Carolina Arbors. His past as the head of a human testing laboratory in the Research Triangle area proves to have rattled some neighbors. Then there is a murder. Unfortunately for Detective Travis Vinder, there are several suspects and he refuses to be caught in a Poirot type 'whodunit'. The local book club helps him in solving the murder, but did it really?’
This is a very entertaining and engrossing murder mystery made all the more special because of the creative approach. Hopefully this technique of writing will continue through the series. Recommended.
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