Far away from the hustle of modern life, the lush, warm and fragrant Caribbean island of Bequia seems like a tropical paradise.
Until one fine morning a dead female body floating face down in a swimming pool lifts this glimmering but deceptive veil and pushes the once peaceful microcosm into small-scale chaos.
Accustomed to dealing with petty crimes committed by locals yet inexperienced with murders and murderers of any kind, the Bequia police turn their attention to the nearest suspicious person: a thirty-something Canadian expat, Geoffrey. We never learn his real name but we know that his shady past had forced him to find refuge on the island few years before.
Geoffrey had neither the means not the motive to kill the woman – he barely knew her – but his job as the manager of the property where her body was found places him in the vicinity of the crime scene. As far as the police are concerned, it’s enough to make him a suspect.
In order to clear his name, the former businessman and accidental property manager will have to take on yet another role: impromptu investigator … For Geoff it could be more than a ‘simple’ quest of finding the real killer. Essentially a good person who had once made a mistake and done things in opposition with his moral values, Geoff gets a chance to deal with his own past and to receive symbolic absolution for his sins …
I won’t tell you more about Geoff because I don’t want to reveal too much of the plot: to give away the important details of a mystery story is a small crime itself.
I won’t spoil your fun, however, if I tell you that you’ll enjoy the other layer of this novel: the story of Bequia itself. By interspersing the crime plot with an in-depth, factual description of the island, Susan Toy lets you inhale its salty air, see its flamboyant colors and taste its flavors. She takes you to an exciting voyage through its history, geography, climate, as well as its demographics, culture and mentality, so that you can feel the pulse of Bequia.
As of the paradise mentioned earlier, well … Once order has been restored, it becomes obvious that the island wasn’t exactly a paradise. Which is fine: paradises can be quite boring in their perfection. Even with all its imperfections – or maybe because of them – Bequia is still beautiful. A world unto itself, secluded safe, a home and shelter, wrapped in clouds.
Who needs more than that?