Foreword Reviews

A Death at the Potawatomi Club

Clarion Rating: 2 out of 5

A Death at the Potawatomi Club is a leisurely mystery novel set in the world of private clubs and big money.

In Stephen Timbers’s mystery novel A Death at the Potawatomi Club, a man hopes to solve a murder while protecting his life and loved ones.

Charlie, who’s still grieving the death of his late wife, goes to the club to play golf. He ends up finding Scottie, an acquaintance of his, dead in the pool. The police think that Scottie was murdered; Charlie becomes a suspect. Moved by the vague determination to clear his name, Charlie investigates Scottie’s death on his own, putting himself and his girlfriend, Kate, in danger.

Despite this premise, the book moves at a slow pace. After Scottie is discovered, little happens for a long stretch, impeding the development of suspense. Further, because the killer’s identity is evident early on, their heavy presence, their clear motive, and Charlie’s refusal to consider them a suspect all undercut the audience’s investment in the tale.

The members of the cast behave in inconsistent manners. Charlie is offended by the police questioning him and verifying his alibi but then makes a list of people to question and alibis to check. Kate, who wants a serious relationship, goes out with other men in an effort to make Charlie jealous. Charlie’s continued conviction that Scottie was murdered is undersupported in his own investigation, which itself is stalled by the fact that Charlie has weak reasons for initiating it; he knows that few people liked Scottie, does not initially believe that he was murdered, and is swift to change his mind on his own key determinations. Further, the significance of Charlie’s hesitance to propose to Kate, whom he’s been dating for a year, is not fleshed out in the text itself, despite being a prominent plot point. Misused words, muddled dialogue, and misused punctuation marks are frequent as well, leading to additional ambiguity. Agreement issues impact the book’s progression, and people’s thoughts are insufficiently distinguished from the general narration, resulting in continual confusion.

The resolution is anticlimactic: the killer’s plan to stop Charlie is spelled out beforehand, so the book’s late surprises are few. Most of its loose ends are tied up, but in predictable ways. And the secondary conflicts in Charlie’s personal life are solved off of the page, despite their potential to result in triumphant moments in the text proper.

A Death at the Potawatomi Club is a leisurely mystery novel set in the world of private clubs and big money.

Reviewed by Carolina Ciucci

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the publisher will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

Load Next Review