Thursday, January 31, 2008

Mystery Book Review: The Marathon Murders by Chester Campbell

Mysterious ReviewsMysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of The Marathon Murders by Chester Campbell. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

The Marathon Murders by Chester CampbellBuy from Amazon.com
The Marathon Murders by
A Greg McKenzie Mystery

Night Shadows Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-9799167-0-4 (0979916704)
ISBN-13: 978-0-9799167-0-0 (9780979916700)
Publication Date: February 2008
List Price: $26.95

Synopsis (from the publisher): Greg and Jill take on what appears to be a 90-year-old murder case, dragging them into a present-day conspiracy filled with chicanery in circles of power and chaos created by a frenzied killer.

It starts with a stash of yellowed records found during restoration of the long-defunct Marathon Motor Works’ buildings in Nashville. The documents vanish, and the construction foreman who had them is murdered. The McKenzies’ clients, Col. Warren Jarvis (who first appeared in Secret of the Scroll) and his girlfriend, Kelli Kane, believe the records would shed light on the fate of her great-great-grandfather. A Marathon officer who disappeared in 1914, he was accused of embezzlement and later found dead. More murders occur, appearing aimed at suppressing the secret behind the missing records.

It’s a tale of greed, misplaced pride, family loyalty, and the unpredictable violence of an irrational mind.

Review: Greg and Jill McKenzie's new business as a private investigation service in Nashville unexpectedly gets a case involving a 90-year-old embezzlement and murder in The Marathon Murders, the 4th mystery in this series by Chester Campbell.

Bored with retirement, Greg and Jill open a storefront in a suburban mall offering their services as private investigators, most of their business coming from local legal firms. One day, however, Colonel Jarvis, Greg’s commanding officer in the Air Corps, brings them a young woman, Kelli, who has a nearly century-old case to solve. Her great grandfather, eighty-four year old Sydney Liggett, had called Kelli and asked her to come to Nashville. Now in a nursing home, he had received a call from Pierce Bradley, a foreman on a reconstruction job of the old Marathon Motor Works, manufacturers of a popular touring car, formerly owned by the Liggetts. Bradley had found a stash of papers with the name of Sydney’s grandfather on them. He thought Sydney would want them as with just a glance it looked as if Arthur, Marathon’s assistant treasurer, had discovered discrepancies totaling $200,000. Evidently Arthur was going to take the papers to the District Attorney, but for some reason hid them behind the paneling in his office where a member of the construction crew found them. Arthur was found dead in an abandoned garage five years later. Although the Liggetts lost Marathon Motors, and Sydney accused of embezzlement, the family never believed it was true. Now, Bradley has disappeared and so have the papers. Greg and Jill are hired not only find Bradley and the papers, but to figure out what really happened so long ago.

This intriguing mystery takes Greg and Jill into Nashville's high society as the couple pursue their missing persons investigation that ultimately leads to the murder of three other people who may, or may not, be part of their case. Despite their relatively recent status as professionals in the field, they make a terrific team as private investigators.

The Marathon Murders is a pleasure to read. The are a number of interesting twists and turns, and deciphering the clues to the puzzle presented to the McKenzies, and determining what is true and what is fiction in the stories told to them, is a real thrill. Also the fact that Marathon Motors was once a real company in Nashville, and had its own somewhat mysterious financial difficulties resulting in its closing in 1914, adds to the authenticity of the story.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of The Marathon Murders and to Chester Campbell for providing an ARC of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

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