Death of an Artist by Kate Wilhelm was hard to put down. It's the story of a family disturbed by the death of Stef, who is the mother of Van, the daughter of Marnie, the wife of Dale Oliver. Stef was also a talented artist, with beautiful works worth probably millions of dollars. Her death is determined by officials to be an accident, but Van and Marnie think it was murder.
The natural beauty of the Oregon coast is highligted throughout the mystery, making me wish I lived there to enjoy that peaceful and idyllic setting. Nevertheless, Marnie and Van are not at peace with Stef's supposed murder. They believe they know who did it, but there is no proof. Enter Tony, a retired New York city homicide detective. He has come to Silver Bay, Oregon, to also find peace. To be involved in police work again is not at all what he wants.
Did her husband, Dale Oliver, kill her? But why would he? Even if the money looked good to him, he would not be able to touch it right away...and so begins a search for motive and means. A witness places him on the phone talking while the death takes place, and that is his alibi. Slowly a picture begins to emerge of Stef's husband, a man who is not who he appears to be. But even if he is a dishonest man, how can they prove he went further and murdered his wife? There simply was no way to substantiate what Marnie and Van, and now possibly Tony, knew to be a deliberate, premeditated killing. And if it can't be proved in a courtroom, will they be willing to exact revenge themselves, a life for a life?
There is no explicit violence in this story, yet it is not quite a cozy mystery either. Expect to be drawn into the events woven into this narrative. Kate Wilhelm is an excellent writer.