Shut Your Eyes Tight
By John Verdon
A few months ago I reviewed a book titled, Think of a Number by this same author, John Verdon. It was his first mystery and a very thrilling start.
With this second one, Shut Your Eyes Tight, he has proved that he has a story to tell and he knows how to go about it. If you like Giles Blunt, you will like these. Like Blunt, these murders are gruesome. The detection is top notch.
Dave Gurney is the detective, who has retired with accolades but keeps getting hauled back into service. Dave can’t resist a puzzle and since he is no longer with the police, he must work around them.
The story begins with a wedding. The wedding is very posh on the estate of the brides stepfather; complete with a mini Parthenon, a string quartet, white linen and roving waiters. It is being filmed from all angles, including from a helicopter and only the very best people are in attendance.
It should be said, that the bride’s mother is sparing no expense because she thinks that marrying her very badly behaved daughter, Jillian to Scott Ashton, a psychiatrist will solve all her problems.
Scott Ashton runs a very private, very expensive clinic for victims of sexual abuse. He works to rehabilitate, specifically young people. Scott is known nationally as a speaker and for his ideas to help these children. He is charming and committed.
There are few things that would bring a wedding to a shuddering halt, especially such a wedding, planned to the last detail.
The bride enters a garden shed (not the sort of shed you and I might have) to coax the Mexican gardener to join the festivities. She doesn’t come out. The groom enters the shed, then staggers out in a state of shock. His beautiful spoiled wife-to-be has been beheaded and the gardener has escaped out the back window of the shed. The whole thing has been filmed from all angles. This case should be easy to solve.
Hector Flores, the gardener, showed up one day at the Ashton estate, looking for a job. He spoke little English but was personable and good looking. At first he was hired to do odd jobs, but soon was a valued part of the staff. Scott Ashton taught his gardener to speak English while he himself learned Spanish. Hector became a trusted employee and friend.
Val Perry is the mother of the bride, and the one who hires Dave Gurney. Remember she has pots of money and she wants the Mexican gardener apprehended. The police, in her estimation are doing nothing. Rumour has it that Mr. Flores and the neighbour’s wife Kiki Muller are both missing. Everyone knew they were more than friends. Dave Gurney’s wife Madeleine does not want Dave back in police work. She’s right to worry, because in this case, Dave gets in so deep, he might be a victim himself.
Peggy Freeman is a freelance writer living in Red Deer.