Murder in a Heatwave – Review

murder in a heatwave book review logo

By Sandra Callard

Amidst the scorching heat of summer, the tale of “Fourth of July” emerges as a shimmering gem within the pages of Murder in a Heatwave. This collection of stories captivates, and “Fourth of July” stands as a masterpiece deserving of its own spotlight.

In the heart of America’s most celebrated day, throngs of revelers descend upon an expansive outdoor soirée in honor of Independence Day. The party’s orchestrator, the colossal entity that is The United Restaurant Workers of America, assumes a dual role as host and guest of honor. Amidst the sea of faces, the rich tapestry of attendees is woven with threads of company workers and well-heeled elites, their fates intertwined against the backdrop of opulence.

Security personnel stand vigilant, ensuring an exclusive roster of guests, until tragedy strikes within the festive tapestry. Philip Holt, the company’s director of organization, is found lifeless within a tent, a knife piercing his head. Murder’s sinister hand is unmistakable, its touch staining the celebratory atmosphere. As the revelation that the murder weapon hails from the very company responsible for the party unfurls, the gaze of suspicion narrows and relentless pursuit of truth commences.

Characters emerge with astonishing clarity, painted in vivid hues with a lightheartedness infused with an unmistakable American flair. The narrative’s cadence, at once familiar and distinct, amplifies the intrigue that unfolds.

murder in a heatwave book review cover“Defies expectations”

Central to the story’s pulse is the riddle of the “Whodunit,” an enigma tackled by a pair of detectives who masterfully blend brilliance and humour. The dichotomy between the gravity of murder and the levity infused by an American narrative yields a nuanced experience. The victim’s detestable nature, however unsettling, softens the moral tension, an intricacy not lost on the 17 policemen—apologies, cops—who descend upon the scene.

A dance of questioning begins, transforming innocuous suspects into pivotal players, cast against a park as expansive as their culpability. Conversations between detectives and police become a ballet of words, unfurling, transforming a grim situation into a deftly crafted dialogue brimming with wit and irony. This scene epitomises the artistry of the narrative, transcending the grim to orchestrate a symphony of amusement and astuteness.

As an outsider’s exploration of American culture, apprehensions were anticipated, yet the outcome defies expectations. The vintage prose, a relic of days gone by, dazzles with its ingenuity, rendering my modern apprehensions irrelevant. The disarming blend of suspense and sardonic commentary unfolds with a timeless allure, offering a bridge to an era that was, and remains, distinct.

In “Fourth of July,” a triumvirate of elements converge: the chilling allure of murder, the audacity of unjust detainment, and the gratification of unraveling truth. It weaves a narrative tapestry that entertains without capitulating to sentimentality, horror, or monotony. In every sense, a masterstroke deserving of unmitigated acclaim.

It is a bright gem, in a book filled with other such jewels.

‘Murder in a Heatwave: Classic Crime Mysteries for the Holidays’ is published by Profile Books


Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.