by Bob Morris
Review by Beth Slater
St. Martin's Minotaur Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 0312328931
Date: 06 February, 2007 List Price $23.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Zack Chasteen and his girlfriend, Barbara, travel to Bermuda to a) plant some palm trees and b) attend her aunt's 70th birthday gala. The last thing Zack expects is to rescue a scuba-clad body off of the hazardous beachfront property of Barbara's Aunt Trula, Cutfoot Estate (appropriately named, of course). He finds out later that the body, whose eyes had been gouged out, is in a similar condition to two other bodies found years ago, and he wonders at the coincidence. He, however, is not alone in his curiosity.
Zach has recovered the body of a murdered scuba diver, but his interest is piqued by the plethora of treasure hunters in the area, as well as an ancient arm (or hand) of the Portuguese mob, taking an interest in the possibility of a Christian reliquary in the nearby waters. Teddy Schwartz, Aunt Tula's latest beau and legendary scuba diver/treasure hunter, was Zach's tour guide and scuba buddy until Teddy's arrest on suspicion of the latest murder.
Then Zack decides, while in Bermuda, to check on the money he'd had secluded in an account there less than a year ago. Money he had earned legally, but from questionable resources. He is extremely unhappy to find that the money had been withdrawn by the company who had assisted in setting up the account. He follows the money trail, and finds himself in the untenable position of saving the thief's life.
Amidst the party preparations, boat rides, and palm trees, Zack's sense of humor keeps the multiple story-lines in perspective, as well as his ability to play the brute when necessary. With the help (or hindrance) of many different characters, including the returning Boggy, Zack pursues the leads where the police's hands are tied. He discovers early on that Bermuda is a small world, and he's got to fish in the right waters in order to straighten out all the lines he's cast.
I missed Morris' first two adventures with Zach, but from the first chapter I knew that I would enjoy Zach's problem-solving techniques simply from his wry wit. His directness in answering questions was something I could relate to, and his humor had me laughing out loud. I would suggest this mystery to people who like a complex storyline with a strong sense of comedy interwoven.