Reviewed By Rabia Tanveer for Readers’ Favorite
Murder at the Ocean Forest by Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the story of a couple who loved each other very much. Terence and Faye Underwood had a happy marriage, until the day Terence was shot in World War II. After that the marriage was never the same. There were strains that could not be healed, especially when their love for each other was not enough. Due to the unforgiving nature of society, the couple is unable to leave each other. In a last effort to restore their marriage, Terence takes his wife to Ocean Forest Resort located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Instead of the trip reviving their passions, Faye goes missing and is thought to be dead. Feltus Boone LaMont, a southern detective, thinks Terence is the prime suspect, until he is murdered in his bed with the door locked from the inside. Feltus Boone LaMont has a great mystery on his hands and, to unravel it, he must search all the guests at this exclusive resort. No one is safe and everyone is a suspect. Can LeMont solve the case without someone else getting murdered? Or will he fail and someone perish because of his folly?
I don’t know why, but I read the novel with a distinct English accent voicing the words in my head. And that was really amazing. I really loved the quirkiness of LeMont; he has a swagger and charm that is very much like the characters in Agatha Christie novels. The dialogue came very naturally and everything was in sync. I really love novels where things fall into place perfectly and harmoniously. You will not see a hotchpotch of irrelevant things in this story. Five stars for a smooth and enjoyable novel!
Reviewed By Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers’ Favorite
Murder at the Ocean Forest by Robert “Digger” Cartwright is a hauntingly beautiful, sinister tale of malevolent revenge. A group of rare individuals, all touched by the war in Europe, cross paths at the Ocean Forest Resort. Meet the Underwoods – Terence, the arrogant, wealthy womanizer, and Faye, the beautiful southern belle who wears the shroud of the distraught victim, and carries the weight of the world upon her frail shoulders. The unhappy couple returns to their honeymoon hotel, hoping to rekindle the love between them. Or is there another purpose for their return? Preacher Cooper, who is wound up like a two dollar watch, speaks boldly against the atrocities of war. His peculiar outbursts and mannerisms lead the others to believe he is hiding something. Also in their midst is a British wounded war veteran, Lord Ashburn, and his snobbish, yet stunning wife, Lady Jane. Last but not least, Elizabeth Bascomb, a blind, world renowned clairvoyant. A chance meeting it would seem, or could a mysterious, evil force be drawing them together? The mood turns fiendish as the weather turns foul. A hurricane approaches, the storm violently invades the Ocean Forest resort, and with its rain and gale force winds, murder occurs – three deaths in three days. Inspector Feltus La Mont, sets out to find the murderer, whether it be phantom or human.
Robert “Digger” Cartwright’s mystery novel Murder at the Ocean Forest takes the reader into a setting and time when life was simple and complicated, peaceful and warring, and audacious and fragile. A time when wealth was flaunted among the social elite and the lesser folk humbly bowed to their every wish. In the southern landscape of Myrtle Beach, the Ocean Forest Hotel stands erect, never wavering in its decadence. Cartwright sets the stage for murder in an aura of elegant ambiguity. World War II is the compulsory element that drives the plot. Each character feels the painful effects of war. The characterization is wonderfully written. Cartwright is patient and precise in the introduction and portrayal of his characters. Always leaving an air of mystery, their unique qualities and personalities are shadowed reflections, seen but not seen, as the story unfolds. The descriptions are a mixture of the uncanny and the articulate. Cartwright writes figuratively, with a sensory style. As you attempt to decipher what is real or menacing apparition, your senses are enveloped by the vivid and intentionally vague imagery. Twists of fate, veiled characters, and a shocking turn of events make Murder at the Ocean Forest a one of a kind “whodunit” mystery.
Reviewed By Trudi LoPreto for Readers’ Favorite
Murder at the Ocean Forest immediately takes you back to life in the 1940s. The action begins on a Pullman train headed to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The passengers all starting out as virtual strangers include Faye and Terence Underwood, Lord and Lady Ashburn, and Preacher Cooper. They are all headed to the luxurious Ocean Forest Hotel where some will be killed and some will be suspects. Upon arrival, Faye meets and quickly becomes close to Elizabeth Bascomb, a blind clairvoyant, who will play a large part in the drama that is to come. Feltus Boone LaMont is the hotel detective and is soon drawn into a murder mystery that will take many twists, turns and disturbing directions before it can be solved. Feltus soon learns that each of these guests has a deep dark secret to hide and each secret may be a reason to kill.
Murder at the Ocean Forest by Robert “Digger” Cartwright is a murder/detective novel with a storyline that is very descriptive with great attention to details. Strong, vivid character development takes place before the mystery even begins. Each character is brought to life and I, as the reader, felt I knew each one as a friend, liking some and being annoyed with others. When the murder takes place, I was drawn right into the story and though I changed my mind several times throughout the book, trying to guess the killer’s identity, I never did figure it out. Murder at the Ocean Forest is a good old-fashioned detective story that, while slow going, was packed with good reading from beginning to end. All murder/mystery/detective fans will find Robert “Digger” Cartwright an author they will want to put on their favorite authors list. Murder at the Ocean Forest is a winner.
Reviewed By Lit Amri for Readers’ Favorite
In Murder at the Ocean Forest, which is set in the 1940s, a morose Southern couple, Terence and Faye Underwood, are guests at the Ocean Forest Resort, the grandest hotel in the South in the quaint seaside town of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. When the distraught Faye disappears from the elegant hotel, Feltus Boone LaMont, a Southern detective, investigates Faye’s apparent murder. When Terence becomes the second murder victim, Feltus is further drawn into the case and to the hotel’s other intriguing visitors; Lady Jane and her husband Lord George Ashburn, an aristocratic couple from Britain, blind clairvoyant Ms. Elizabeth Bascomb, and Preacher Cooper.
Murder At The Ocean Forest by Robert “Digger” Cartwright is a traditional mystery novel where the plot stretches back to the battlefields in France. Emotionally, it is easy to connect to the characters that are genuinely flawed in their own ways. Preacher Cooper is quite an interesting man of the cloth, whose faith is rivaled by his sadness and anger over the loss of his only son in the war. His arrival at the hotel comes with unexpected business dealing, and I will not spoil this part for the other readers.
The confrontation in the train between Lord Ashburn and Preacher Cooper regarding the war is a great read and one of the best moments in the story. I could picture the scene vividly in my mind and the moderate pace of the plot gave me room to immerse myself in the story. The prose has a classic flair and breathes life into the 1940s setting. This is an enjoyable and intricate murder mystery.