Death Below Deck

by Douglas Kiker 1991

KikerWhen his longtime friend Bitsy Binford, an old-money Cape Cod widow, invited reporter Mac McFarland to her estate early one morning, he wasn’t expecting anything more eye-opening than a good cup of coffee.

Then, at his hostess’s urging, Mac took a tour of the impressively outfitted boat that belonged to Bitsy’s stepson – and came face-to-face with the young man’s corpse. To all a appearances, it was suicide, but Mac’s instincts told him something just wasn’t shipshape about a wealthy, powerful communications magnate blowing his brains out.

And the more Mac burrowed into the history of the battling blue-blooded Binfords, the more secrecy, jealousy, and madness he uncovered, enough to convince him that there was murder afoot… and afloat.

‘Kiker knows his way around mystery writing.’  ~USA TODAY

‘Kiker’s prose flows effortlessly, quiet but filled with tension.’  ~The New York Times Book Review

This was the third and final book in a three book series. I’ve read them all now and they are excellent mysteries! The two reviews above are spot on! Douglas Kiker died at 61 of a heart attack the year this book was published. A real loss to mystery lovers! He was a news correspondent and newspaperman as well as an author. He was in the presidential motorcade when JFK was assassinated in 1963. You can read about his death and career here.

In this book Mac is called by an old friend he hasn’t seen in years and joins her at the old family summer home for coffee and a catch-up. What he gets as a side with that coffee is a dead body. Bitsy, (I detest that name!) nonchalantly invites him down to inspect the new yacht of her stepson-in-law and they find him dead. An apparent suicide. But then Bitsy lets him in on a little secret, she had found the body earlier that morning and invited Mac over to stage the finding of the body with him! Hmm… What is she hiding and what did she hope to accomplish by pulling Mac into the picture? Turns out everyone wanted Peter Stallings dead, could it have been Mac’s old friend Bitsy? Or is she shielding someone else?

I like the characters in this series and you can read this as a stand-a-lone but it does help to have read the first two to explain the relationships with the town people. Cape Cod is a lovely setting and Kiker does know how to weave a tale! Several twists and turns in this one. If you like mysteries this is a really good book and series to try to get your hands on. So sorry that wasn’t more in the Mac McFarland series, he’s a great character.

You can look at my reviews of the first book – Murder on Clam Pond and the second Death at the Cut.

P.S. you can read this one or any Kiker book free at

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