Murder In The Hamptons
by Amy Garvey
(Brava, $14.00, NC-17) ISBN 0-7582-1041-8
****
As a favor to her publicist best friend, Maggie Harding is spending the weekend in a posh East Hampton estate. While Lucy is orchestrating the reentry of former teen heartthrob, Drew Fisk, into Hollywood social circles, Maggie plans to drool over his fiancťeís lavish home. Paige Redmond is a trust fund baby, and interior designer Maggie canít wait gawk at her antiques, artwork and carefully arranged furniture.

However, the trip takes a shortcut into Hell when Maggie tours the ballroom. There, standing right in front of her is none other than Tyler Brody. The Tyler Brody that she had a one-night stand with in the Florida Keys five years back. OK, so it was more like three nights and they spent the entire time naked in a cheap motel room. Always-plan-ahead, never-do-anything-impulsive Maggie then panicked and snuck out on Tyler, escaping back to her home in New York. Since they didnít bother to share inconsequential details, like last names, Tyler was never able to track her down.

Maggie is all set to bolt once again, but her loyalty to Lucy stops her. That and Tyler is really, really hot. Then a dead body turns up, and the police put everyone under house arrest until they get some answers. Leaving Maggie to wonder Ė what would Miss Marple do? And exactly how fast can she get Tyler out of his pants and keep her sanity intact?

Murder In The Hamptons is one of my favorite kinds of books. Sure itís not high art, wonít cure cancer, and wonít drastically alter my life forever Ė but dang if it isnít loads of fun. Itís a quick, breezy, charming read and with a wide array for suspects to choose from. The pages just flew by.

Half the fun of the mystery is waiting to see who ends up dead. The reader is left guessing until the corpse is discovered. Once it is, there are numerous suspects, most with glitzy Hollywood backgrounds. However, this is not a terribly heavy mystery, with Garvey throwing in plenty of hot sex and romance to keep the story moving along. Readers who like their romantic suspense novels on the lighter side should be pleased.

Maggie is a sweet girl with a serious commitment problem. She wants safe. She wants order. Instead she finds herself wildly attracted to a man like Tyler Ė the same guy who abandoned law school at the last minute in order to enter the hotel business. He panics her into a state of near shock, and whenever heís around her, her hormones have a way of bringing out her impulsive side.

Tyler is determined to squeeze all the fun he can out of life. He was hurt when Maggie vanished on him five years ago, and is admittedly ecstatic to see her again Ė if only to soothe his bruised male ego. Sheís just as sexy as he remembered, and itís not long before these too are burning up the sheets. Itís hot, hot stuff.

Murder In The Hamptons is surely the first sign that the beach read season is upon us. Itís a great vacation book, lots of fun with sizzling sex and a decent little mystery tossed into the mix. Sure it wonít cause you to ponder the meaning of life, or brood over deep philosophical themes Ė but hey, who cares? This book is fast and fun. I dare you to start it and not finish it in one sitting.

--Wendy Crutcher


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