Death in Paradise (A Henrie O Mystery)
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Henrie O has experienced much sadness and loss in her life--yet nothing more tragic than the sudden death six years ago of her beloved newspaperman husband, Richard, on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Then, on a brisk March morning, a package arrives by courier that shatters her fragile peace of mind--a chilling message that claims Richard's fatal fall from a towering island cliff was no accident. It was murder.
It is news that enrages the normally self-contained Henrie 0, and a summons she cannot ignore, as she follows cryptic clues and her infallible instincts to a secret-shrouded tropic Eden--a lush and verdant Pacific paradise where giant palm fronds hide evil deeds from inquisitive eyes and the soft, salt scented ocean breeze whispers of treachery and death. At the lavish mountaintop estate of Belle Ericcson--where Richard spent the final days of his life--and in the company of the fabulously wealthy matriarch's large, extended clan, Henrie is privy to the rumors that have torn Belle's family apart: terrible allegations of greed and jealousy; of treachery, adultery, abuse...and of a mystery that surrounds the kidnap-slaying of Belle's eldest child, CeeCee, which may have been what called Richard Collins to Kauai and to his death.
Henrie O's anger and pain--her duty to the past and to the cherished memory of the man she dearly loved--have brought her to this island of breathtaking, lethal beauty. But her unwavering determination to uncover the truth in a house of lies may ensure that she never leaves. Because the deaths did not begin with Richard Collins, nor have they ended there. And the closer she gets to unmasking her husband's assassin, the more frighteningly apparent it becomes that someone's dark and enduring homicidal passions have not yet been fully satisfied.
who?" "One of them. I don't know which. CeeCee Burke disappeared from Belle's lakefront home. One year later my husband—Richard Collins—went to Kauai because he'd learned who killed CeeCee." I knew this had to be true. Something that Johnnie Rodriguez told Richard revealed the kidnapper. If all went well, I'd have the same knowledge after I talked to Johnnie Rodriguez. "They said Richard fell to his death. I think he was pushed." He flipped my card, glanced at the name. "Collins. The newspaper
left I would eventually fetch up beneath the lanai to my suite. I looked to my right. The cliff jutted out here. The path curved out of sight. I picked my way carefully along the cliff face. As I came around the curve, I looked up to see yet another lanai, the last one. I was deep in shadow. A sum, imperious figure stood near the railing. "... want you to find out everything about her. Everything. What she's been doing these past years. What kind of person she is." Belle's light, clear,
never misses a meal. And a bottle of Dom Perignon. Okay, Wethter, I'll play the game. But the picnic better be damn good/ " "Why did you involve Johnnie?" "To make it more fun. We wore handkerchief masks like bad guys in the old cowboy movies. CeeCee got a kick out of that." "Later, did you and Johnnie ever talk about what happened?" "Just once. I told him it must have been planned by some crooks who knew all about the kids. We decided we couldn't go to the police. We didn't think anybody
that?" "I suppose it wasn't common knowledge." "No." Peggy picked up a corner of the towel, pleated it in her fingers. "They had a thing for each other." There was a tiny edge of envy in her voice. "But CeeCee simply couldn't face Belle. Not about Wheeler. Because Belle always made so much fuss about the great, wonderful family. I told CeeCee over and over that Wheeler wasn't her brother. I mean, that's silly. They were teenagers when they met. And that's what happened, of course. Right from
you swear to me, Lester, do you swear on the night we met outside the bar in Saigon, do you swear to me that you don't know what happened to CeeCee?" Their eyes met and held. "Belle, I swear to you, I don't know what happened." I heard the faintest, telltale emphasis on the third from last word. "Lester—" The cry was wrung from me. They both turned toward me. I knew even as I reached out toward him that this moment was exacting a dreadful toll from Lester Mackey. His face was white and