By Becky Cook
By Martin L. Wilson
Published by Shotwell Publishing, under imprint “Gold-Bug Mysteries“, 2017
[Don’t be fooled. Read the title carefully. You will quickly be caught up in some fascinating characters (and stories) taking place along Carolina coast during World War II.]
In 1942 the U. S. had just entered into the war. The idyllic Jekyll Island had maintained its exclusivity and character as a place where a few very wealthy folks established a “millionaires club.” In order to go there one had to be wealthy OR be visiting a resident/property owner by invitation. Nazi and Communist agents, as well as New Jersey thugs, a beautiful French refugee, killer horses, even a German U-Boat, (and more) give a hint of some of the diversity of the plot. See if you recognize the name “Gravedigger” when you read it.
The protagonist/main character is Clarke Deveau who returned home to his family’s piece of land at Jekyll Island [once a showplace plantation, named Pineland.] His return is wrapped in the cloud of his shameful dismissal from U. S. Justice Department and betrayal by his wife. However he accepted the call to be involved in solving a questionable accidental death case. It becomes a global event interspersed with war maneuvers of deception, intrigue, and murder. I like the part where a couple of Mr. Deveau’s servants are able to teach him a thing or two about butchering hogs! This is a saga of ever emerging surprises and serendipities. Nothing but little clues allowed in this writing!
The author Martin Wilson has local connections and family property here in Lake Lure where he spends a good bit of time, though his home is in Virginia.
[In 1947, state of Georgia purchased the island and operated it as a vacation retreat. In 1950 Jekyll Island State Authority took control. A causeway now connects the island to the mainland, and the island is no longer a preserve for the wealthy elite.]