St. Martin's, July 2003, 24.95, 320 pp.
Ex-Sheriff John Le Brun may be retired but that doesn't stop him from solving homicides connected to exclusive men's clubs (see the JEKYL ISLAND CLUB and THE SCEPTERED ISLE CLUB). In New York during June 1906, another member murders a member of the ultra-exclusive Metropolitan Club but the killer has an airtight alibi. John Pierpont Morgan, the founder and head of the club, doesn't want a scandal attached to his creation so he hires John Le Brun to Look into the case.
When John arrives in Manhattan, he finds facts that have a bearing on the case. The killer was not a member of the club but a look alike. The victim was not Edmund Pinckney but his identical twin brother Miniver who was playing a practical joke that got him killed. Edmund is afraid he will be the killer's next target because too many people know that Miniver was the sibling who died. He is proven correct in a locked room scenario that makes everyone think it is suicide. Le Brun is not convinced and sets out to prove his theory; an action that twice almost gets him killed.
A locked room mystery is always fun to read especially when it is constructed as well as it is in THE MANHATTAN ISLAND CLUBS using places and people who actually lived during the time and setting of this book. Brent Monahan takes his audience behind the scenes of the so-called Gilded Age and shows that the period was corrupt and narcissistic. Readers will adore the brilliant hero who gets heart broken by a damsel in distress.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner