Title: Death in the Sunshine (Retired Detectives Club #1)
Author: Steph Broadribb
Published on: 1 March 2022
Genre: Mystery and Thriller
After a long career as a police officer, Moira moved into a luxury retirement community in Florida, hoping things will be peaceful. A string of burglaries in the past few days has caught the residents by surprise. Moira goes for her usual morning walk + swim. When she reaches the swimming pool, she sees a dead body in the pool. A young woman’s body is floating in the pool. The victim is surrounded by blood and dollar bills.
Moira calls 911 and reports the crime. When the local cops arrive, they take over the case. Philip, a fellow resident sees Moira at the crime scene and offers to take her to his place for a cuppa. A cup of sweet tea or two will bring back a spot of color on her cheeks.
Philip is a retired cop while his wife Lizzie is a retired CSI official. They are joined by Rick, a fellow resident and ex-DEA. When the four ‘retired detectives’ learn the local cops are not vested in solving the murder, they decide to take matter into their hands and do a bit of sleuthing.
Death in the Sunshine is the first book in Steph Broadribb’s Retired Detectives Club series. Dark past and well-hidden secrets, a good dose of proper sleuthing by retired detectives and a mystery that keeps one guessing till the end, Death in the Sunshine by Steph Broadribb is a fantastic series debut.
I absolutely loved the concept of retired detectives deciding to get back in action, solve a case or two – even if it is to pass time. The icing on the cake is, Philip and Moira have a tragic past. A traumatic event that lead them to quit the force and retire to a peaceful retirement community named The Homestead in Florida. When a murder occurs in the community, their detective instincts kick in.
The local detective does not want the ‘seniors’ to interfere in his case. This riles the retired detectives even further. They have come across a fair bit of evidence but the local cop is too much of himself! He thinks senile people must play golf or whatever and let young detectives handle the case.
“Four retired law enforcers uniting to crack this case. Who’d have thought it? We should call ourselves the retired detectives club. “
Moira has been hiding her past from Lizzie, Philip and Rick. Lizzie and Philip have met Moira before but they had no idea Moira was also in the force, just like them. All three of them moved from London to Florida after quitting their jobs. When the four retired detectives initially start their impromptu investigation, they explain to Moira some ‘police terms’ such as “Jane Doe”, and what kind of clues or evidence goes into a murder board. When Moira blurts out she’s an ex-cop, Lizzie is angry while the men take it well.
No ID was found on the victim. Also, when Moira walks away from the crime scene, she sees a young man following her. He clicks her photo and vanishes. Moira again sees the man near her backyard. Then once again when she visits Lizzie. Moira and Lizzie decide to do a bit of sleuthing by visiting the crime scene after dark, when the CSI are done with their work. When the two ladies are searching for any missing clues at the crime scene, Moira has this weird feeling that they are being watched. She catches a glint of light in the hills and follows it. She almost catches the man who’s been following her. While Lizzie is left alone at the crime scene, she too feels that someone’s watching her.
Halfway through the story, Moira is attacked by an unknown assailant. Also, Moira learns that the news of murder in The Homestead is not mentioned anywhere in media. Nowhere in the local news channel, papers or Facebook group. Also, The Homestead management promised ‘all happiness and safety’ but turns out, the security is crass and there is a lot of hush-hush going on.
As a first in the series, we have just the right amount of character introduction and series-plot setting. The characters are likable. The concept of retired detectives solving cases is the spotlight of the series. This is the first Steph Broadribb book I read and won’t be the last. I loved the storytelling and the writing style. The mystery behind the murder, the string of burglaries and the hushing up of the case on media kept me guessing till the end.
I am looking forward to seeing what’s next for the retired detectives club. If you love gripping mysteries, you might want to give Steph Broadribb’s Death in the Sunshine a try.