As the police conduct their investigation, Jasper Carteret, the patriarch, calls an urgent family meeting. Had any of her siblings known that Pony would be at the house that day? Was she having personal problems, was she depressed? Had she ever revealed the true identity of her baby's father? Neither sister - Tinker, the family caretaker, nor Mira, the moody, thoughtful one - has any information, and ultimately the police rule the drowning an accident.
But William Carteret, Pony's older brother, can't accept the explanation that his favorite sister's death was an accident. Determined to uncover the truth, he eventually learns the disturbing fact that a stranger had been present at the house the evening Pony died. Who was this man, what was he doing at the house, and why hasn't he stepped forward?
As William digs deeper, his investigations quickly lead him to a new and more daunting series of questions, not only about the mysteries in Pony's life but also about the shadowy details of his deceased mother's past and even his own. Before long, he has opened a Pandora's box of family secrets, including one dangerous fact his mother has kept hidden for a generation.
This is the kind of murder mystery that I'm always looking for, but unfortunately seldom find. First, it's smart, suspenseful, and well-written, the basic criteria for reading pleasure. In addition, the characters are dimensional and strongly drawn and the author creates a powerful sense of place--in this case a summer house situated on a lake somewhere in the Northeast. Finally, the book is interesting from a family-systems perspective. I found myself looking forward to going to bed each night (when I listen to audio books) to continue the story.
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