Book Review: Murders at Astaire Castle, by Lauren Carr

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The word ‘murders’ is right!  You will find even more than usual in this exciting tale by Lauren Carr.  But then it does span decades between the past and the present. The fifth novel in her Mac Faraday series, The Murders at Astaire Castle was published in July of 2013, in time to get in the spirit of Halloween.  Of course, spooky can be fun any time of year.

I enjoyed being back with Mac, Archie, David, and Gnarly once again.  If you enjoy a light, entertaining mystery, I hope you read through the series.  By this time the characters have become friends.  Friends are always a pleasure to visit.

It keeps surprising me how well Ms. Carr can weave a suspenseful story with so many characters, yet keep it light in its way.  It isn’t light on suspects, or victims either for that matter.  Yet I continue to smile throughout the book.
This time around, there are a few more surprises.  Astaire Castle holds many secrets along with its infamous history.

The Story

First, in case you are unfamiliar with the series, Mac was an excellent homicide detective with an unhappy wife who had filed for divorce.  The day the court rules the divorce final, an attorney chases him—literally—with news.  He has inherited a tidy sum from his birth mother, Robin Spencer.  She happened to be a very successful author. The sum?  Around $270 million.  Not surprisingly, Mac retired and now lives on her estate on Deep Creek Lake.  He’s been settling in, falling in love, chasing Gnarly, the German shepherd that came with his inheritance, and helping the police chief solve crimes.  They make up a delightful cast of characters.

When best friend and half brother, David O’Callaghan, tells Mac he has to stay away from one area on the property he inherited, he naturally insists on knowing why.  When he learns he owns an abandoned castle, how can he stay away?  Even when he learns of the many deaths and disappearances that have occurred there, he has to see for himself.  Could you resist a castle?  He used to be a cop.  He isn’t afraid.  It may be considered one of the most famous haunted houses, but no way he believes in ghosts, werewolves, or the like.

Still, during his very first visit there, the group becomes trapped in a turret until Gnarly discovers a secret passage that holds more than stairs.  A long dead body—a clearly murdered body—lies within.  That body belongs to the author who had stayed there to write his last novel.  He disappeared along with the manuscript the night his daughter and his editor were killed.

Suddenly several strangers arrive on the scene, at least strangers to some.  At the same time, a boy who went missing is found, with  mysteries of his own.

Is the castle haunted after all?  Is the killing the work of man or something else?  Since it is a Halloween treat, you would do well to wonder.

David’s Past, or is it His Present?

David gets more attention in this  book, for good and bad.   He knew many of the victims and their families, some very well.  If he lives, there is one particular woman he would like to know again.  Before he can move on to that, some of the suspects become victims too.

The author is very good at that too!  There is so often enough guilt to go around for a multitude of characters, but rarely do they all live through the investigation.  It certainly keeps the reader tuned in, seeking clues.  I guessed a couple of them, but missed far more.

Though the castle is not exactly a welcome place to be, Mac, Archie, and Gnarly find themselves drawn back time after time, with a fire, murder, and the missing book.  The question becomes who will be left by the end?

A very fun read that has me thinking I should start the next one right away.  That is the tug of a good series.  I’m always anxious to read the next one, but don’t want to be finished with the series.  Still I doubt it will be long.  The Lady Who Cried Murder is Number 6.

Review of Murder My Son



Merry Citarella, often writing as Merrci, writes on a wide range of topics. Recently relocated to the Oregon Coast in the northwest United States, she frequently writes travel features on the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She specializes in health and aging, Alzheimer’s Disease, food, lifestyle, and book reviews. For more information you can see her on The Writers’Door. You can read more articles here or at her websites Mystery Suspense Reviews .

Author: Merry

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1 Comment

  1. This sounds like something I would read. I’ll read anything with even a tiny bit of mystery. Thank you!

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