When self-styled impresario and former human cannonball Matthew Hayes rents a luxury villa on Palm Beach's famed South Ocean Boulevard, the locals roll their eyes. But when he scuttles the traditional backyard accoutrements of swimming pool and tennis court in favor of a grand garden hedge maze modeled after the one at Hampton Court, the South Florida smart set can't wait for their invitations to the gala opening of the Amazin' Maze of Matthew Hayes.
The big night arrives and gasps of wonder and delight are replaced by those of horror, as Hayes's ladylove, Marlena Marvel, in the role of Venus, is discovered at the center of the maze, very dead indeed. The authorities are stumped, as Hayes's carnival background gives rise to a number of possible suspects - and the huge crowd at the unveiling included its fair share of questionable characters. Or are there other forces - and more devious minds - at work? And Hayes's flair for the dramatic only complicates a mystery that has more false leads than his Amazin' Maze. It's up to Archy McNally to see through the scam and catch a killer.Goodreaders give it a 3.7 of 5. I gave it a 6 of 10 on the Haugenometer. The characters were entertaining, but the conclusion to the mystery was a bit forced. It also seemed the author resorted too often to “let me give you a recap” of what’s happened so far, because it was getting a little too twisty and turny. If your mystery is too complicated to follow, don’t write it; at least not for simpletons like me.