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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Deception’s Sins: A Roger Sundbee Mystery is a murder mystery written by Karen Truesdell Riehl. Roger Sundbee arrived on Deception Island after a failed attempt at writing a tell-all book about the residents of Freedom, Indiana, where he worked at the Country Club as a tennis pro, and in the wake of threats made by the father of one of his many conquests in Chicago where he worked for the Tribune. A friend had told him about the small island located off the coast of Washington, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity for a fresh start. He was on his best behavior on the island as the community it sheltered was small and insular. A position at the local newspaper was not forthcoming; however, the local realtor, Luke Epping had offered him a position at his office. Luke and his wife, Margery, had recently lost their son, Lucas, in Vietnam. Roger was about the same age as Lucas would have been, and the couple began to feel as though he were like a son. When Roger is the last person to see Zeke, an elderly island resident, in a local pub before his body is found the next day with a rope around his neck, Roger is the police’s number one suspect.
Karen Truesdell Riehl’s murder mystery, Deception’s Sins: A Roger Sundbee Mystery, is a droll and witty story that has a fascinating location and a rich historical backdrop. I loved the hint of buried treasure which begins when Luke and Roger explore the vacant land adjoining Quentin Forbes’ land. Roger finds a gold coin and was saddened by the tale of the ill-starred romance between Willis Stokes and Gertie, who still sits on the porch of the house Willis built for her with her father’s guitar in her hand and wearing her mother’s shawl. Riehl has a gift for description, and she makes each person living on Deception Island seem like real beings with their own histories and dreams. The historical details she weaves into the plot are marvelous. I enjoyed reading Deception’s Sins and hope to read other stories starring the multi-talented Roger Sundbee. This historically themed mystery is highly recommended.