The Brooklyn North Murders



The rebranding of the annual Fire Department Fun Run as the Billings Group Sprint Triathlon Series is just the latest battle in the war to transform sleepy Morgansburg, NY, into the next Silicon Valley. But surely even the redoubtable descendants of Colonel Obadiah Morgan, who repelled the Redcoats with no more weapon than a hip-bath, couldn’ t be capable of making a hi-flying tech investor vanish in the middle of a lake, in full view of a score of witnesses. But someone did, and Mary Watson, local librarian and computer genius, has the pictures to prove it. Mary Watson – yes, that really is her name – is a 40-something librarian whose two passions are Jeopardy! and coding an AI program named Doyle to write mysteries. Mary and Doyle are asked to join the search for the missing man by Mack Byrne, the taciturn Chief of Campus Security – and the closest thing to law enforcement there is in Morgansburg. Unfortunately, Doyle’ s solution comes straight out of what is arguably the worst detective story ever written: S.S. van Dine’ s “The Dragon Murder Case”. But when Mary gives in and investigates the possibility that Cam has been murdered by a man in a deep sea diving suit who masquerades as a Native American monster in order to dump the body over a mile away, she finds Cam’ s tell-tale red swim suit hidden in a cave near the lake where he vanished. The plot thickens when Mary discovers that van Dine is not the only Golden Age writer to have written about such an impossible crime. John Dickson Carr’ s version of the story involves a noticeable red swimsuit, and the fact that it is used to misdirect the witnesses provides a much simpler explanation of how Cam Billings disappeared; he simply pulled on a wetsuit over his eye-catching red swimsuit. The new question is why he would do such a thing. Rumors abound about a looming divorce, financial malfeasance and even a rogue assassin with near-supernatural powers. The last theory is bolstered when Cam’ s body is discovered in circumstances straight out of a John Dickson Carr novel: shot with an antique pistol behind locked doors – once again in full view of eyewitnesses. The flesh and blood suspects are the typical small-town cast of characters: Lawrence Morgan, descendent of the town’ s first family and expert on heritage roses, Blanche Morgan Philipse, sworn foe of fermented preserves, and Edsel Kincaid, a confirmed bachelor who runs a little antique shop on Main Street. The prime suspect is Mike Malone, the local landscaper and fire chief, who will not deny the rumors about a shady Army past spread by Nigel St. Hubbins, an Influencer whose resume sounds as false as his name. Paul Morgan, Mary’ s former college boyfriend and the DA who was backed by Cam Billings, launches an investigation. When Mary discovers how Cam’ s ” impossible” murder was engineered, Byrne admits he moved the body to shift the blame away from Malone – since Byrne is in fact the shadowy Army operative in hiding. But when Mary asks Byrne whether he killed Cam Billings, Byrne admits he suffers from PTSD and doesn’ t know – although he very much doubts it, because in his professional judgement, Cam’ s murder is an amateur’ s crime. Unlike Byrne, St. Hubbins is a charmingly amoral hacker who is doing everything he can to stay out of federal prison by bringing down the grey money network run by Cam Billings and Paul Morgan under cover of the Morgansburg Historical Society. However, St. Hubbins’ charm is decidedly diminished by the fact his machinations may land Mary in jail. In order to save herself and Doyle, M


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