The hook for me in this mystery is that it is set in the world of open-water swimming and written by an actual swimmer. Ironically, the main character, Trisha Carson, isn’t a swimmer but her sister, Lena, is. Trisha happens to be watching her sister compete in an open water race when she witnesses the surprising but seemingly accidental death of another swimmer, Dick Waddell. Dick is in great shape and his death comes as a shock to the swimming community. From the very beginning, Trisha is both suspicious and strangely persistent in pursuing her hunches about there being something amiss—so much so that I wished Carroll had exposed more back-story.
Trisha’s inclination to play girl detective is fueled by the fact that shortly after Dick’s death, she is hired to work part-time in the office of Nor Cal Swimming Association, a position that gives her access to details of Dick’s death and a front row seat to an accident that almost claims the life of another swimmer in the organization. This second mishap makes Trisha certain that something is up and like many a classic detective before her, she is soon putting people’s names on note cards and trying to figure out what is going on.
This is a solid, decently plotted mystery but there were moments that made me crazy—where I couldn’t believe Trisha didn’t see the connections the reader could so clearly see. Also, I would have liked a bit more character development—both of Trisha, our narrator, and other secondary characters. Carroll hints at things that I wish she had spent more time integrating into the story. “No money, no man, no mojo” can be kind of a cliché in female detective circles but with just a little more back-story, I think Trish could have risen above that.