Murder Across the Ocean: Charlene Wexler
Old flames are sometimes what the doctor ordered but in this case Lori Brill’s teenage boyfriend Josh Wheeler comes back into her life in an unexpected way. Meeting him at an airport on her way to visit her granddaughter in London, she becomes enamored once more, finds her way to his hotel room and rekindles an old flame. But, Lori’s night of passion with Josh although exciting would turn into something that would embroil her in a police investigation with Lori as the prime suspect. Finding her way to the Palace Hotel in London little does she know that she would be the object of an investigation that would take her into the offices of Scotland Yard and in front of an FBI agent who is relentless, rude and determined to pin the death of Josh Wheeler on Lori. While taking a shower someone enters their room and shoots Josh in the eye. The last person that was with him was Lori. Praying that they would allow her to call for help she phones her granddaughter Cate who brings along her solicitor boyfriend Joseph Lunt to handle Lori’s defense. A bloody body can rattle anyone’s composure and being interrogated by the FBI even more. But this FBI agent is rude and relentless and can’t understand why Josh would even consider 70 year old Lori when he has a younger girlfriend Suzi. Josh is into ponzi schemes and has dealings with Chinese financial backers. Did it relate back to Germany and her parents being in a concentration camp? What about Josh’s millions? Why does FBI agent Gould insist that she pretend to know where Josh hid his money and that she can lead anyone to it?
With the evidence piling up the London police tag Lori as their primary suspect but as the case comes to light and more information is forthcoming they learn that this playboy, business mogul and real estate entrepreneur swindled millions of dollars from people just like Bernie Nadoff. With Detective Inspector Geoffrey Holmes on the case and taunted and haunted by FBI agent Jordan Gould they make an unholy and unlikely pair.
Cate seems to be in the fringe about Joseph and when his father and stepmother have dinner with Cate and her grandmother things become clearer and the prejudices come to light. Lori is somehow related in a way to his family and this secret must never be revealed because it would ruin him in Parliament. Joseph and Lori’s family ties to his grandfather cause a rift between Joseph and Cate and what the stepmother says are unforgiveable. Lord Roger Lunt appeared to accept Cate at first but after realizing that there is a connection to Baron Joseph Braun and the holocaust things heat up even more and alliances change. Added in Josh’s girlfriend Suzi arrives unexpected and tries to save Lori from the kidnappers but instead she is critically injured and Lori is shot. Thinking Lori has the key to where Josh hid his money or has the keys to his safety deposit boxes they starve her for days, keep her tied up and the end result just might be tragic. But Holmes and Gould will not give up and they miraculously find her but will she survive. A traumatic experience, a serious surgery and a long recovery as she and Cate deal with her feelings for Gould and her decision to part with Joseph.
Hearing the voice of Roland McKeifer her kidnapper readers just might applaud when he’s captured in his attempt to find Josh’s millions. But, who hired him and why? Was it someone connected to Suzi who happens to be her niece? Was it the Baron Braun who wants to tell her his secret that has been kept for over seventy years? What about the people he scammed?
Throughout the novel we learn a lot about Cate, Lori, Jordan and Joseph. Each character very distinct yet some thinking that because Lori is older that she cannot function on her own and keep referring to her as the “old lady.” This is one term that I know for a fact after asking several older people while reading this novel how they felt about that terminology and they agreed with me that it was not exactly how they viewed themselves. “Elderly woman or just a woman would be fine.” There is no reason to define age. Anyone that went through what Lori did might have been as frightened, fragile and the fact that her hip was shot and she needed an operation to heal it has nothing to do with age. Added in the in fighting and words used to describe both Jordan and the British detective were not always quite pleasant. Prejudices against the Jewish people were evident and the fact that Joseph’s family did not want it known that they had a link to Lori is not all that surprising. Murder Across the Ocean does show that opposites can attract and that agencies can work together and maybe miracles can happen. What is Lori’s fate? Will she and Detective Inspector Holmes find their way to each other? Just how many mysteries did she solve before coming to the end of the book? It might be fun to team them up and find out.
As Cate decides on a career move and her life goes in a different direction will she and Jordan become a pair and wouldn’t it be fun to have them solve some cases together. He is smart, outspoken and you often wonder what his true feelings are for Cate or if he cares for her in the moment. He’s a great character and so is she. The chemistry is there and the electricity between them quite strong.
Just who killed Josh you won’t believe. Just why you might understand. How it all ties together you will have to read for yourself.
Murder Across the Ocean: Gets Four Stars
Fran Lewis Just reviews