Book-In Focus: Murder on Cape Cod by Ruth C. Howard
Murder on Cape Cod is an exciting page-turner from a promising author.
— The BookWalker
As is typical in the game of bridge, a heady mix of characters sits ready to explore the millions of inferences challenging them with every card played--or not played—in Ruth C Howard’s mystery novel “Murder on Cape Cod.”
While some of these characters are of only ancillary importance, they serve the vital role of propelling the story forward, allowing our focus to be directed towards the main characters as they play the game and determine its outcome trick by trick. The resulting mental stimulation has long been recognized by experts on the aging process as an excellent exercise helping older people stay alert and involved, while at the same time offering a challenge for the minds of younger people.
After an initial section designed to introduce non-players to the game, the action begins. Jennie Worth, a fairly easy-going and successful real estate agent in her 30’s thrives on competition. Her goal in whatever she plays is to win.
As we meet Jenny, we are also introduced to her partner, Whit Edmonton, with whom she has a regular partnership in their home base. Although happily married to Ellen, his non-bridge playing wife, Whit has recently been demonstrating a somewhat possessive attitude towards Jenny, one about which she remains casual but also alert to its implications.
During the course of the game, the pair move to the table of Marianne Fleck and her partner. Marianne is a colorful character to whom competition and winning are paramount at any cost. She is known to all players for her nasty temperament and poor sportsmanship--an unpleasant combination her opponents, and often even her partners, seek to avoid.
Following the completion of the afternoon at the bridge table (won by Jenny and Whit followed by snide remarks and nasty innuendos from Marianne), Jenny finishes some errands and returns to her home to wait for her fiancé, Jeff, to come from his office to spend the night with her.
Over the past week or so, Jenny has been preparing for a trip to a regional bridge tournament in Hyannis, Mass. where she will be playing with her favorite partner of all time, Phil Waterman.
Eight days without Jeff is not a happy prospect for Jenny, but being able to spend the time with Phil offers a more than acceptable second choice.
Phil, a tall, intelligent and extremely attractive man and an excellent conversationalist, should have been a woman’s ultimate catch and many a woman had been known to make a fool of herself trying to win his affections. But as Jenny well knew, Phil was not interested in any woman, or women in general, except as friends.
Phil and Jenny met and cemented their bridge partnership in Florida. Then, as luck would have it, Phil’s life partner Jack was offered an excellent position in Baltimore and off they went. Despite the distance, however, Phil tried, whenever possible, to squeeze in at least one tournament a year with Jennie. Both play with other people, but they enjoy their game together most of all.
This year, he is convinced he and Jennie will have the time of their lives. He is optimistic about winning. If only he knew the chilling surprise awaiting them in Cape Cod, a surprise unlike any other they’ve seen at the table.
In the course of their Cape Cod adventures, they join forces with a local detective whom they come to respect when his abilities and insights bring everything into focus. Their mental games will be tested, and they must pull the right tricks to win. An exciting bridge tournament comes to an end-- exciting for reasons other than the game of 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
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.
Note: Now Available: Click here
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.