Warner, July 2001, 23.95, 354 pp.
Clio Pratt made sure the membership committee of the Fair Lawn Country Club of Southampton, Long Island rejected the application of cardiologist Dr. Henry Lewis because he is black. She follows that friendly gesture by refusing to lend any money to her stepdaughter Suffolk County prosecutor Frances Pratt. Other individuals also suffer from Clio's cantankerous clout.
Someone finally decides that they have suffered enough from this nasty person. That individual kills Clio. Though a potential conflict of interest, Frances leads the investigation into the murder of her stepmother starting at the country club where the body was found. Frances soon finds a plethora of suspects all with motives and opportunities as numerous people were negatively impacted by Clio's ugliness.
MISFORTUNE is an entertaining who-done-it that cleverly sets up the reader with numerous suspects who fell victim to Clio's sting. When the story line follows Clio around and subsequently Frances making inquiries, the plot works like magic. When the tale focuses on life in Southampton it seems too shallow and out of focus. Nancy Geary's debut tale is fortunate for those readers who enjoy a pleasurable regional mystery.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner