Book Review: Deadly Summer Nights by Vicki Delany @vickidelany @BerkleyMystery

Deadly Summer Nights
A Catskill Summer Resort Mystery #1
Vicky Delany
Berkley Prime Crime, September 2021
ISBN: 978-0-593-33437-9
Mass Market Paperback

Shades of Dirty Dancing! Almost from the first description I was transported to the Catskill Mountains where opulent resorts held sway in the 50s. The 1950s, that is. The incessant smoking, the ritzy cocktails—does anyone drink Grasshoppers anymore?—the full skirts, girdles and stockings required even in the middle of a hot, humid summer are part of what strikes me as an entire other age. The cast includes college boys earning money for the next semester’s tuition, and in some cases, grifters and con artists. Mainly, we meet an extremely hard-working staff trying to please women with children whose husbands make enough money to allow an escape from the city heat.

But there’s nowhere, evidently, you can escape murder, McCarthyism, and small-town cops with an ax to grind.

A convoluted revenge story, sometimes it appears everyone–yet no one–has the motive to kill a simple college professor who is in want of privacy to write a novel. Yet he turns up dead. Wild tales spread through the resort population, with hotelier Elizabeth Grady at her wits end trying to keep nasty rumors from ruining the summer season. Determined to discover the murderer herself when the police prove inadequate, Elizabeth is helped not only by her friends, but the dead man’s nephew.

The story has a fine plot, excellent characters, and a wonderful setting. A lot to like in this one, sure to put you in the mood for soft summer days and hot nights.

Reviewed by Carol Crigger, February 2022.
Author of The Woman Who Built A Bridge (Spur Award Winner), Ault’s Heir,
The Woman Who Wore a Badge, and Six Dancing Damsels: A China Bohannon Mystery