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Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite
Murder at the Ocean Forest by Robert “Digger” Cartwright is a hauntingly beautiful, sinister tale of malevolent revenge. A group of rare individuals, all touched by the war in Europe, cross paths at the Ocean Forest Resort. Meet the Underwoods - Terence, the arrogant, wealthy womanizer, and Faye, the beautiful southern belle who wears the shroud of the distraught victim, and carries the weight of the world upon her frail shoulders. The unhappy couple returns to their honeymoon hotel, hoping to rekindle the love between them. Or is there another purpose for their return? Preacher Cooper, who is wound up like a two dollar watch, speaks boldly against the atrocities of war. His peculiar outbursts and mannerisms lead the others to believe he is hiding something. Also in their midst is a British wounded war veteran, Lord Ashburn, and his snobbish, yet stunning wife, Lady Jane. Last but not least, Elizabeth Bascomb, a blind, world renowned clairvoyant. A chance meeting it would seem, or could a mysterious, evil force be drawing them together? The mood turns fiendish as the weather turns foul. A hurricane approaches, the storm violently invades the Ocean Forest resort, and with its rain and gale force winds, murder occurs - three deaths in three days. Inspector Feltus La Mont, sets out to find the murderer, whether it be phantom or human.
Robert "Digger” Cartwright’s mystery novel Murder at the Ocean Forest takes the reader into a setting and time when life was simple and complicated, peaceful and warring, and audacious and fragile. A time when wealth was flaunted among the social elite and the lesser folk humbly bowed to their every wish. In the southern landscape of Myrtle Beach, the Ocean Forest Hotel stands erect, never wavering in its decadence. Cartwright sets the stage for murder in an aura of elegant ambiguity. World War II is the compulsory element that drives the plot. Each character feels the painful effects of war. The characterization is wonderfully written. Cartwright is patient and precise in the introduction and portrayal of his characters. Always leaving an air of mystery, their unique qualities and personalities are shadowed reflections, seen but not seen, as the story unfolds. The descriptions are a mixture of the uncanny and the articulate. Cartwright writes figuratively, with a sensory style. As you attempt to decipher what is real or menacing apparition, your senses are enveloped by the vivid and intentionally vague imagery. Twists of fate, veiled characters, and a shocking turn of events make Murder at the Ocean Forest a one of a kind “whodunit” mystery.