as I was reading Harbor, I thought about my next Mystery read maybe also having a maritime, even oceanic, theme to it. the power of the sea, and all that, transferred from Horror to a whodunit. I thought about a few books I have ready: A Watery Grave; Inspector French and the Sea Mystery. the phrase "watery grave" even turned up in Harbor, like an omen.
well, I ignored it. I decided going to a book with either the word "sea", or the words "watery grave" was a bit too obvious--and I settled for Behold A Fair Woman, which hinted at a "killer stalking the sand dunes", and had a cove complete with windmill on the gorgeous cover. I thought to myself: "well, if it starts on a beach, but moves to a big city after 10 pages, you had your shot to pick something more obviously watery, and declined. so let's see how we do...".
so far...VERY maritimish! we do have a windmill--possibly haunted--and a lighthouse too! turning out to be the perfect follow-up to Harbor, if I wanted a similar vibe, but with better weather and a lovelier climate. I'm on the island of Moulin d'Or. there's a jetty, St. Julian's Harbour, tourists, and instead of a hostel, like in Harbor, there's a full-scale hotel--big and ugly, and peopled with catty, enigmatic passive-aggressive types who definitely have a weird history. Mordecai's vacation is clearly going to end soon, when the first body drops (detectives are very good at taking vacations where evil people are planning mayhem, aren't they?). anyway, it's got the verve I now expect from this fairly fast-paced author--not the most colorful stylist in the world, but not constructing a book out of dry wood and stale vanilla hardened with sawdust; in fact, some of the turns of phrase are frightfully melodramatic. but, I like it. this is exactly what I wanted for more harborside shenanigans after, uh, Harbor. and David Niven is Mordecai Tremaine, in my mind.