by Mark Mills
Category: Fiction / Mystery
0 pages; ISBN: 0399151842
Rating: 10/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Putnam, Aug 2004, $24.95
By 1947, Amagansett, like much of this part of Long island, is undergoing a radical change as Manhattan’s rich and famous invade the small fishing villages and farmlands that have made up this area. While the farmers and fishermen toil year round, the wealthy have made the Hamptons a summer playground to escape the urban heat.
Still the catch in the Atlantic remains terrific though dangerous so fishermen like immigrant Basque Conrad Labarde and his helper Rollo cast nets almost daily to earn a living. This time Conrad catches the body of a young woman. Deputy Chief of Police Tom Hollis investigates the death to ascertain whether a murder has occurred. To accomplish his assignment, Tom must enter the sanctimonious sanctuary of the opulent newcomers though he feels out of his element as he is made to feel like a working stiff questioning his betters in their feudal society. Not that Tom’s attitude is different since he snobbishly sees the outsiders as being stars of a Fitzgerald novel especially when the family of the deceased prefers to hide the truths involving their dead daughter.
Though on the surface AMAGANSETT is a historical village police procedural, the story line is actually more of a character study at a time when great upheaval impacts this part of Long Island as centuries old lifestyle is changing. Thus, the tale reads more like a a post World War II whodunit with an emphasis on the history. The cast is a delightful lot that enables the audience to compare the beleaguered working class of farmers and fishermen to the wealthy invaders as revolution has come to the Hamptons.
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