Death in A Cold Hard Light
In Francine Mathews's Death in A Mood Indigo, Detective Meredith Folger's career hit new heights of terror and self-doubt. Now Merry is more than ready for a peaceful vacation, or maybe even wedding plans. So she is not pleased when her police chief father calls her home from Greenwich to investigate what looks like an accidental drowning.
The Coast Guard has just pulled a lifeless body from the frigid waters near the harbor jetties. Twenty-one-year-old Jay Santorski--athlete, Harvard scholar, and part-time scalloper--should never have drowned in the December seas. What was the young man doing out alone in the storm-churned bay? And where is Merry's police detective colleague, the shiftless Matt Bailey, who vanished the night Santorski died?
Over the objections of her fiancÚ Peter, Merry flies back to the island in the teeth of a nor'easter to start the investigation into the scalloper's death. But as she questions Santorski's co-workers, friends, and housemates, the truth of the scalloper's character seems ever more elusive. Was Jay an honest and caring friend--or a sneak thief? Did he really use heroin, or was he a health-conscious triathlete who feared addictive drugs? Why did he drop out of Harvard so suddenly, when marine biology meant so much to him? And why did he die with the missing Matt Bailey's phone number in his pocket?
Dead ends and false leads confront Merry at every turn--and Police Chief John Folger is behind too many of them. As Merry delves further into the mystery of Jay Santorski, she feels increasingly isolated. For the first time, she cannot trust her lifelong role model--her own father.
Forced to continue her search alone, Merry plunges into Jay's private world--a world of warring obsessions...between truth and seduction, addiction and redemption, between two women vying for possession of his soul: Hannah Moore, the brilliant and ruthless marine biologist, and Margot St. John, a blues singer with a mortal habit. Behind them stands Owen Harley, Jay's friend and employer, a man with some obsessions of his own.
To learn what really happened in the midnight waters off Old North Wharf, Merry must confront the truth of her own past. It's a case that will test her loyalties and strain her ties to the people she loves most. What, finally, is more important--her need for justice, or for Peter Mason? Should she shield her father, or force him to shoulder his share of the blame? When a second body is found, her choice becomes agonizingly clear. Merry cannot allow a dangerous killer to strike again....
New York : Bantam Books, 1998
323 p. ; 24 cm