Murder on Oak Street (A South Shore Mystery Book 1)

Written by I. M. Foster
Review by Cindy Vallar

Jilted at the altar, Daniel O’Halleran accepts a job that combines his two passions: medicine and criminal investigation. He moves to Patchogue, Long Island, where Kathleen Brissedon, the daughter of a wealthy resident, asks him to look into an unsolved murder for her desolate stepbrother. The case is one that has haunted Daniel for two years; he did the autopsy and was frustrated because the New York City police gave the crime only a cursory examination.

Before Daniel has a chance to delve into the mystery, a new murder occurs. On a hot summer night in 1904, someone slits Thomas Brissedon’s throat. With the help of a local police sergeant, as well as an uncle who works for New York’s police department, Daniel learns the victim collected secrets and was willing to use anyone, including his own children, to get what he wanted. Daniel discovers there is a connection between the two murders, but how and why must wait until he figures out who killed Thomas. Was it the angry stepson? The callous, drunken son with gambling debts? The guttersnipe wooing Kathleen? The cousin in love with the maid, whom Thomas fired? The wife whose husband has what Thomas wanted? The partner he ruined? Or is Kathleen the murderess?

While it takes one third of the book to introduce the characters and set the stage for the murder, once Thomas succumbs, the pace quickens and it becomes an intriguing who-dun-it. This first book in the South Shore Mystery series interweaves murder, mayhem, and romance with well-drawn characters rife with foibles and a vile, despicable villain. Foster, a historian and librarian, brings the Edwardian period and bygone Patchogue to life, and readers will look forward to Daniel’s next mystery as well as his developing relationship with Kathleen.