Murder at the Arizona Biltmore (Merlin Richards 1)

Written by Edward Marston
Review by Alan Cassady-Bishop

Dissatisfied with life in his father’s practice in Wales, young architect Merlin Richards becomes entranced by the work of the American Frank Lloyd Wright. After a brief note from the man himself, Merlin throws all caution to the wind and embarks on a one-way trip to America. Merlin arrives at the Arizona Biltmore site – a hotel under construction in the desert near Phoenix. He’s helped out by Rosa Lustig, an attractive young designer, to wait for his hero. Rosa is brutally murdered, and with Merlin the prime suspect, he is determined to get to the truth. He constructs cases against other suspects, including past lovers and jealous rivals, with the police dogging his heels.

In this first in a series, we’re introduced to a likeable protagonist with a rock-solid sense of right and wrong. He’s no fool, just a common-sensed enthusiast of architecture. Lloyd Wright makes several appearances, but his real impact is in the setting of the breath-taking Biltmore. Marston recreates the setting excellently well and draws in the reader. Highly enjoyable!