Title: Death Comes Darkly
Author: David S. Pederson
Publisher: Bold Stokes Books
Release Date: April 1, 2016
Genre(s): Historical, Murder/Mystery
Page Count: 240
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 1 flames out of 5
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Can a detective and a policeman find love amidst murder? Heath Barrington is an attractive, clever, big city detective, confident, strong, and crazy about police officer Alan Keyes. Down-to-earth, noble, and naïve, Alan struggles with his desires for Heath versus 1940s America and his guilty conscience.
Heath’s skills of deduction and reasoning are put to the test as he and Alan work together to solve the murder of an eccentric millionaire in his mysterious, isolated estate. They search for clues and uncover long buried secrets of the weekend guests while keeping secrets of their own.
It’s up to Heath to solve the mystery and convince Alan that some secrets aren’t worth keeping, and lust can lead to love.
Death Comes Darkly has the feel of a classic Agatha Christie mystery, in which a group of people spend a weekend in a country estate, someone is murdered and everyone is a suspect. Set in 1947 in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, Detective Heath Barrington is invited by Dexter S. Darkly to spend a weekend at his isolated estate. Upon arrival, he meets the ex-Mrs. Darkly, Dexter’s daughter and son-in-law, Dexter’s brother-in-law from his first marriage, the servants Bishop and Nora, and Harwood Acres, the college roommate and lover of Dexter’s son, Nigel, who died 10 years ago (to whom Detective Barrington bears an uncanny resemblance.)
Detective Barrington’s “plus one” is his lover, policeman Alan Keyes, who arrives the next day via train, just in time to help him investigate a murder. Turns out almost everyone had a reason to kill Dexter Darkly, but is the obvious suspect the murderer, or is it a set-up? The author does a wonderful job of unveiling the truth bit by bit, and tosses enough red herrings into the mix to keep the reader guessing until the very end.
Barrington and Keyes’ relationship is hinted at, but there are no sex scenes in the book (other than a kiss or two). Also, it appears that Keyes and Barrington have recently met at another murder scene, but as far as I can tell, Death Comes Darkly is the first book by Mr. Pedersen. But even if this is the second book in a series, it works very well as a stand-alone book. I look forward to reading more by David S. Pederson.