||Aug. 24, 2009
Tom Casey, Private Investigator, better known as Hawkman, was hired by George and Maggie Hampton to investigate the deaths of their friends living in Morning Glory Haven. The facility houses people capable of independent living, along with those who need twenty-four hour assistance.
Maggie resides in the independent section, but her health requires more concern than she feels she should bestow upon her diabetic husband suffering from bad knees.
Hawkman takes on the case and feels the couple might be over exaggerating the thought their friends were murdered. He figured people living in these homes passed away due to natural causes, maybe he could put the Hampton’s at ease.
As Hawkman delves into the case, he finds he couldn’t have been more wrong. There were definitely murders taking place. It baffled him to think someone would kill people who were in the last stages of their lives. ‘SHADOWS IN THE NIGHT’ leads you down a trail you never thought possible.
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George and Maggie Hampton had three friends who died untimely deaths at Morning Glory Haven, a facility for the elderly. Maggie lives in the Independent Living section because her health requires more than her diabetic husband with bad knees can handle, but she’s very capable of taking care of her personal needs. George visits Maggie daily, and becomes quite concerned over the
passing of their friends.
George hires the private investigator, Tom Casey, also known as, Hawkman, to look into his suspicions of murder. He does this behind his wife’s back. Hawkman takes the case, feeling Mr. Hampton is probably exaggerating, and hopes he can calm the man’s fears. Maggie is furious with George for not consulting her on such an important matter, but once she meets Hawkman, she changes her opinion and hopes he can get to the bottom of the problem. George also insists his wife have constant protection until he feels things are safe.
Once Hawkman is introduced to the staff of Morning Glory Haven and his services are accepted, he hires Kevin Erwin to help him and George work out a schedule to accompany Maggie to all the house functions, plus be at her side at all times during her waking hours.
Hawkman begins questioning the staff of the home and discovers more deaths than the average have occurred over the past six months. In his interrogations of the deceased next of kin, and their doctors, he finds no autopsies were performed, all were diabetic and each died of natural causes in their sleep due to heart failure. Hawkman had a hard time believing these deaths all had the same final diagnosis.
When another death occurs during his watch, he talks the doctor in charge into requesting an autopsy. The results of the report made Hawkman question the woman’s death as being anything but from natural causes, although he had no proof.
The police were brought in and in the midst of their investigation, they were called out on an emergency drug sting. About this time, Maggie tired of not having any time to herself and being constantly tailed. She talks her husband into firing Hawkman.
Detective Williams asked Hawkman to stay on, even though he couldn’t pay him. He didn’t want the investigation to lose momentum. Hawkman accepted and began delving into the files and extensively questioning the staff. He came up with several problems dealing with the top people working at Morning Glory Haven, but nothing he could classify as threatening.
Another death occurred, and this again brought in the police. Detective Williams suspected George and Maggie Hampton of foul play. Maggie didn’t like the detective and told George to hire Hawkman back. Hawkman couldn’t accept their offer while in the service of the police, but didn’t believe they were guilty of any crime, and vowed to himself to prove their innocence.
Yes, murder does happen in an old folks home. Read “SHADOWS IN THE NIGHT” and discover the complicated twists and turns such an investigation can take.
Grahm bowed his head, then glanced up at Hawkman. “You have to understand; this is an old folk’s home. These people have all kinds of medical problems and really aren’t expected to live much longer after being put in there.” He threw up his hands in frustration. “When the sickly die, I can honestly tell you, in most cases their hearts simply give out. However, after Mrs. Owens’ death, I thought something askew, because after reviewing her file, I discovered she didn’t have any real bad health issues that would cause her sudden demise, except for the diabetes.”
Brenda Stewart (Indiana)
Shadows in the Night, by Betty Sullivan LaPierre, opens as Tom Casey, aka Hawkman, retired intelligence agent turned private detective, arrives at his office to find George Hampton, an elderly man, wanting to hire his services. Hampton's wife Maggie resides in a senior living facility, Morning Glory Haven. Apparently healthy residents are dying of supposed heart failure. Maggie Hampton has moved into the facility after suffering a fractured hip that has never properly healed. She has arthritis and uses a walker to get around. Her husband, who still lives in the couple's home, fears for her safety and wants Hawkman to protect his wife and find out why there are so many suspicious deaths. One of the deceased was Maggie's roommate.
Maggie's not happy having her activities curtailed and fluctuates between pleasant and petty. Hawkman discovers that seven deaths have occurred in the past six months and none of the bodies have been autopsied to find the cause of death. They have all been listed as deaths due to heart failure. The deaths continue as Hawkman investigates the victims' families and the employees of the facility.
Is the grumpy, probably incompetent doctor responsible for the deaths, an employee of Morning Glory Haven, someone from the outside, or possibly George or Maggie Hampton? The author pays great attention to detail, and the reader gets a real sense of the upscale senior facility and the residents' daily routines. The story is sculpted like a fine piece of art with the suspense building until the perpetrator is revealed. It's difficult to second guess the author in this compelling and mesmerizing story. Hawkman fans will not be disappointed.
SHADOWS IN THE NIGHT by Betty Sullivan LaPierre
SynergEBooks November 2009
No. 12 in the Hawkman series
Hawkman is Tom Casey, a private eye with an eye patch who wears a
cowboy hat, jeans and boots to work. He keeps a falcon, Pretty Girl,
as a pet. His office in Medford, Oregon is above a doughnut shop,
which he patronizes regularly. He commutes from his home at Copco Lake
in Northern California, a good hour and a half drive from Medford.
Hawkman is hired by an elderly man named George to act as bodyguard
for his wife, Maggie, who lives in an upscale senior residence called
Morning Glory Haven. It’s a beautiful, well-run place, with such
amenities as a fitness center, a 24-hour social lounge named the
Bistro, a computer center, and a library, plus 76 well-appointed
residence units. A beautifully landscaped garden and courtyard
separate the independent living residence from an assisted living
The problem: hale and hearty residents have been dying in their sleep.
When Maggie’s roommate turns up dead, George decides something is
amiss. Autopsies have not been done because the deaths raise no alarms
from relatives. It’s a given: old people die. Hawkman agrees to
Hawkman’s wife Jennifer tells him: “You’re going to be talking with a
group of people who can’t hear, have a hard time getting around and
won’t remember what happened fifteen minutes ago. … Boy, you’ve taken
on a doozy.”
I like the opening look at Morning Glory Haven and its residents.
Thumbs up for the positive image -- too many people assume you have to
be doddering and drooling to live in such a place. The author plays is
straight. The residents are simply people who lived long enough to be
old. The traditional life span of three score and ten doesn’t apply to
most of them.
George and Maggie have an interesting arrangement. They have a
beautiful home, where George now lives alone. After Maggie broke her
hip, got pneumonia and almost died, she decided she wanted to be
around people. Moving into Morning Glory was her idea to relieve
George of the responsibility of caring for her. Now she enjoys the
gossip, and Morning Glory’s convenience and constant round of
activities. She refuses to leave. George spends his days with her.
This is a straightforward mystery, written casebook-style. Hawkman
interviews everyone connected with Morning Glory – residents,
staffers, relatives, doctors. He combs through files, does a little
breaking and entering, and tells his wife, “This is the most clueless
case I’ve ever encountered.”
Bit by bit, his investigation turns up dirty secrets, including a
clandestine love affair, and old sexual harassment charges against a
popular staffer. Another item gets his attention: all the residents
who died were diabetic. Also, he finds that not everyone likes Maggie.
Some hint that she’s vain, a braggart, a control freak, and moody.
The case becomes a murder investigation when another resident dies,
and an autopsy reveals the patient died from an insulin overdose. The
police are called in. Hawkman ponders the possibility that Maggie is
the villain. She has access to insulin. George is diabetic, and Maggie
keeps a supply of his insulin pens in her apartment.
Hawkman ramps up his surveillance. His persistence pays off when he
catches the murderer red-handed and gets jabbed with an insulin needle
for his trouble.
There’s a good book trailer on YouTube, with scenes of Morning Glory Haven, at:
Betty Sullivan La Pierre’s web site is at:
Reviewed by Kate Ayers
Shadows in the Night
Betty Sullivan LaPierre
Seven deaths in six months at the Morning Glory Haven senior residence in Medford.
Maggie Hampton, infirmed but sharp as a tack, lives at Morning Glory, against her husband George’s wishes. With these latest deaths, Maggie lost a close friend and George lost a good checkers buddy. For several reasons, they have doubts about the cause being natural. Serious doubts.
Well, it would be ingenious, really. Morning Glory’s tenants are old. Who would think twice about them dying? Most folks would simply lay it off to age. But, then, most folks didn’t figure on George Hampton. George’s love for his wife makes him a very determined fellow. And he has enough money to hire someone to keep her safe.
Private investigator Tom Casey -- aka Hawkman -- lands a lucrative case when George Hampton appears at his office. However, cost doesn’t seem to be a consideration for the Hamptons. George wants Maggie protected and, just in case there’s a murderer walking the halls of the residence, he wants Casey to check into that too. Hawkman shrugs and gets to work. Could it be that the old couple’s imaginations are running away with them? After all, when people reach their 70s and 80s, it isn’t a huge surprise when they pass on.
It only takes a few days for Hawkman to see a pattern. The deceased all suffered from diabetes, not really uncommon among older folks, but quite a coincidence that all of them had the same ailment. Why would anyone target diabetics? Is it easier to give a person an overdose of insulin than to kill them some other way? Certainly it’s more subtle than, say, a gunshot. And maybe it would keep it under the radar for a while at least. That strategy might have worked, but for the Hamptons.
Take Maggie, for instance. She has a lot of moxie and an independent streak --two characteristics which frustrate Hawkman to no end. He can’t seem to get her to cooperate, nor can he seem to impress upon her the importance of following the rules he has set down if she wants to stay alive. They are also two characteristics which unearth some clues.
As Hawkman gets deeper into his investigation, he uncovers several interesting facts about some of the staff at Morning Glory. How did they get hired? Who pulled strings? Did anyone check their backgrounds? His legwork scores him the answers to some of his most pressing questions.
With a case as big as this one, Casey has no time for Pretty Girl, his beautiful hawk, and barely time for Jennifer, his beautiful wife. Luckily, Jennifer helps Hawkman solve problems with her wise suggestions, and helps him keep everyone at home happy with her willingness to tend Pretty Girl, leaving Casey free to keep his mind on his business. And he needs to keep a clear head, for people keep turning up dead at Morning Glory.
It is a huge relief when Hawkman solves the case, at least for the Hamptons. But for the reader, it brings an end to the story all too soon. For Hawkman fans, one can only hope Betty Sullivan LaPierre is hard at work on his next adventure.
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