Cecelia Tichi’s book is a very enjoyable historical murder mystery where husband and wife team, Roderick and Valentine DeVere attempt to solve the murders of young women that have been taking place in Central Park. It was reminiscent, for me, of Agatha Christie’s Tommy and Tuppence stories with an American bent.
Through the story, we are given an insight into the world of the DeVeres, who live on Fifth Avenue and mix in lauded circles, although Val is a relatively new arrival to this world and provides a groundedness that is not borne of the city – she is the heiress to her father’s silver fortune, mined from the mountains of Colorado, and is representative of new money.
Obviously disturbed by the apparent violence taking place on their doorstep, Val, with Roddy’s help, is determined to find the killer so that the park can return to being the haven it was always meant to be.
We follow the DeVeres as they use their contacts and associations to discover what may have happened and we are taken into the world of the theatre and cycling clubs around Central Park as they talk to people in and out of their circle. Tichi shows us a cross-section of society at the time through the DeVeres’ interactions with characters that they encounter and I found the inclusion of “Uptown Land” especially interesting as an insight into New York’s changing landscape – people living in slums turfed out of their homes to make way for a leisure space for the populace; the seamy side of life in Manhattan.
Tichi’s writing is easy to read and she is able to create a clear sense of time and place in her evocation of the period. Her plot is steady and the novel leads to a satisfying conclusion. Nothing too taxing here and as a light read, it will please.