At the heart of this novel is a family that is disjointed, greedy and living in mansion not having to earn a living. As you meet each one their personalities are unique, the often clash and you wonder just how they survive under the same roof. Murder is the key to uniting them even for a brief time as one of their own is killed but in the end they might all profit from the loss.
Boise Monahan has just rented space to open his own PI office in the same building as the Daily News. Here is where the fun starts and things get interesting. Painting his new door that is not of the best quality someone walks in and Boise finds himself talking to Junior Bacon a young man who is concerned about his missing grandmother. As they are talking the reporter from the news enters and Adirondack Kendal the reporter he was meeting with enters but not for long. Introductions made and the reason for Junior’s visit discussed and then the unthinkable happens someone shoots Kendal and using an arrow, and this is murder number one.
When the arrow hits and kills Kendal, things heat up and the police are now involved. Junior is the son of a rich man named Herbie Bacon whose personality is not one that many including his family care to do with. His Uncle Harold is the man who offered to pay Boise to investigate what happened to his grandmother. But the plot is not only about what happened to Frances Bacon but what her will states and where she wanted her huge sums of money to go and to whom.
Junior receives a note from his grandmother claiming he should not worry about her, but he does. What she is doing is dangerous which leads him to Kendal.
The business that the family is in is the sugar business and but there is much more to this. Detective Leber oversees the investigation and then when Frances’s body washed up in the water after being drown, things turn in the direction of the family?
Francine Bacon wanted to repay the former slaves that served masters without any compensation. In other words, reparations paid to them is what she was planning to do and creating before she was killed. Checking the alibis of the family proves interesting and their attitude towards the death of their mother is remarkably odd and cold. Hillary is a recluse and never leaves her home but loves the drink. Harold goes out but is swamped with women and Herbie is plain mean. Slavery and reparations for slavery is at the heart of this novel. In her handwriting they learn other than once hearing mention of forty acres and a mule the person relating this information new nothing about this. There was even a Bacon Trust Fund. This is about greed, avarice, over a fortune that was valued at over hundreds of millions of dollars. Francine did not accept any advice or counsel from her children. She was tough and did things the way she wanted did that get her killed?
Harold loved to indulge in archery practice and Boise seemed to want to learn more about it to find out who killed Kendal. The range had many people practicing diverse types of archery, distinct types of arrows and ways to shoot them. Isabelle is a young girl that seemed to have caught his fancy and he is helping her every step of the way, but she seems to be a natural.
To solve the murders and the mystery Boise hoped that Pickering would entrust him with Kendal’s computer but no such luck. Kendal convinced Francine to do the right thing about the slaves and the reparation issue. The grandson, Junior would bet ten million in trust fund and the other kids got the most. But no one is ever satisfied with what they get. Hilary, Herbie, Harold or Junior would benefit the most and this family was dysfunctional, and the wife had the cash or one of them in the family.
Boise came up against a lot of opposition and often was hurt, beaten up and yet he would not give up on trying to find out the truth behind the two murders. Linking them together he comes upon information related to Leonard Bacon, his relationship with someone other than his wife and then events get more dangerous along the way.
Boise had a contact at the paper named Dana who is brash, tough and take nothing from him at all. They work well together so why is she there now? There are two other plays Gilroy and Jermaine who have a stake in this too. However, Jermaine’s daughter seems to have a fancy with Boise and he is not someone you want to tamper or take on.
Francine was tough and her figure on present value of the work done appeared to provide minimum wage reparations. That is what she would do and in Kendal’s note she argued on this front, Kendal agreed that Gilroy had been paid well over the years to handle the rum business. Were the suffering the ancestors his problem?
As the final scenes are created Boise finds himself in the clutches of a dangerous killer who is aiming to give him the same repose in death as Francine. Will that person succeed? Will Detective Leber find him before it is too late? When the shots are finally stopped, and silence is once again there Boise realizes the hidden truths behind the murder of Kendal and you will not believe who it is. A startling revelation shocks the family as a confession comes out but who will remain at the mansion at the end? Who killed Kendal? Who killed Francine? What about the reparations for the former slaves? Boise is a strong character that is impetuous, tenacious and smart but at times takes unnecessary risks for the good of getting rid of the evil and the wrong around him. Junior, Harold, Herbie, Hilary and the rest of the Bacon clan who will remain and live-in wealth in SWEET PARADISE? Author Gene Desrochers created a character that is unique, tough, odd at times and needs his own personal clothing planner.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews