Book Talk: Murder on Cape Cod by Ruth C. Howard
Murder on Cape Cod is an exciting page-turner from a promising author.
— The BookWalker
Ah, bridge—the game of a million inferences.
Like in a typical bridge table, Ruth C Howard’s Murder on Cape Cod has a heady mix of characters ready to fulfill a million inferences with every card played and every card un-played. Some of these characters are of ancillary importance. They propel the story forward, but only the main characters play the game and determine its outcome one trick after the other. The outcome oftentimes is mental stimulation—an excellent exercise for older people, a challenge for younger ones. Sometimes the result is a three-hour temporary escape from reality. This time, however, in Cape Cod, the outcome is murder.
After a short introduction to bridge, a deep throw-in by the author, the reader meets Jennie Worth for the first time. Jennie, a fairly easy-going woman in her late thirties, thrives on competition. A successful real estate agent, success is her constant objective both in her career and in playing bridge. She doesn’t believe in winning at all cost, but she does play for the win. Playing her partner at the table that day is Whit Edmonton. Although happily married to Ellen, his non-bridge-playing wife, Whit is acting possessive of Jennie lately. She remains casual about it, but in her head are tiny alarm bells she can’t completely dismiss. Eventually, she and Whit win the game against another colorful character, Marianne Fleck, and her partner. Marianne, in a setting rife with competition and sometimes nasty temper, is the queen of negativity. Everybody knows it, and everybody avoids her as much as possible.
Having won, Jennie leaves the club to meet her boyfriend Jeff and to prepare for the regional tournament in Hyannis, Massachusetts. Eight days without Jeff seem too long, and the cape too far from Florida, but Jennie knows she will be in good company, especially since she will be playing with Phil Waterman, her perennial bridge partner. Intelligent, tall, and extremely attractive, Phil would have been a woman’s ultimate catch. Many a woman had made a fool of herself trying to win Phil’s affection, but Phil is not interested in any woman, or women in general, except as friends.
After moving to Baltimore with his partner, Jack, Phil tries, whenever possible, to squeeze in at least one tournament a year with Jennie. They both play with other people, but they enjoy their game together most of all. This year, he knows he and Jennie will have the time of their lives. He is optimistic about winning. If only he knows the chilling surprise awaiting them in Cape Cod, a surprise unlike any other they’ve seen on the table.
Their mental game will be tested, and they must pull the right tricks to win. Perhaps, if their inferences are correct, they will solve the murder. Maybe not. Ah, bridge.
Reviews and What Readers Say
" I couldn't put this book down. The author takes sufficient time developing the characters so that the reader knows what makes each individual tick, and I understood why that was necessary once murder and mayhem began! Once it did begin, the story felt like a swollen river gaining speed and rushing inexorably toward its final destination. That's not to say that the reader KNOWS the final destination until arrival. The author cleverly keeps us guessing throughout the final twists and turns of the story.It is exciting to discover and welcome this newly published author. I await her next book with relish. - How about a bunch of sequels, Ms. Howard?"
—Barbara J. Cohn, Amazon Client, Verified Purchase
" Being a tournament bridge player, I was intrigued with the title.As I got into the book I loved the characters and didn't wantto put the book down! Ruth Howard will be highly recommended to myfriends Keep writing, Ms. Howard. You have a fan."
—Lynda Ruth Briggs, Amazon Client, Verified Purchase
" Great read! Once you start it you have to keep reading it with all it twists and turns as you don't how it will end. Surprise ending."
—Marilyn Kay, Amazon Client, Verified Purchase
Reviewed by Amy Alcott
Disclosure: This article is a personal endorsement of the professional reviewer. The BookWalker is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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About the Author
After a lifetime of various occupations, I have, at the ripe old age of 80+ at last found my niche - creative writing. Although I enjoyed most of the things I have done over the years and am proud of my accomplishments, nothing has given me more pleasure than sitting at my computer and bringing characters to life. I don't create them; they simply speak through me. I have been able to incorporate many of my personal experiences into the stories I tell, but naturally, there is a lot of dramatic licenses necessary to make the stories happen.
Brought up in Woodstock, NY during the 1940s and '50s, my formative years brought me in close contact with an abundance of music, theater, and art. My parents imbued me with a true love of the arts. Aside from the fiction, I have written, I also published a family history entitled "LONG TIME PASSING: History of a Jewish Family."
Touring with the Robert Shaw Chorale in the late 1950's provided me with fodder for "Betrayal in the South;" my love of the game of bridge led quickly to "Murder on Cape Cod" and "A Director Dies;" my current living situation and a guided tour of McDill Air Force Base couldn't help but lead to "Terrorism Begins at the Home;" the big splash in the news regarding a couple of stand your ground court cases had to lead, of course, to—what else??—" Stand Your Ground;" living in Sarasota for over 20 years and working (???) in real estate made "Murder on Longboat Key" a natural; and one of my favorites, "Table For Eight," is based on my memorable cruise through the Panama Canal.
My short story resulted from the trials and tribulations involved in growing old(er) and learning how interpersonal family relations change. It seems to hit home with quite a few people of retirement age.
For those who prefer more personal details, I have one son who is an attorney, a daughter-in-law who is also an attorney, and three lovely grandchildren, all in their twenties at this writing. My first career was as a classical singer, which included a year at an opera house in Germany, followed by many less exciting endeavors. I ended my working life as a real estate agent, duplicate bridge director and teacher, and a brief stint as a legal assistant. But nothing has brought me the real pleasure I find in writing.