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Allen Barlowe

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Murder Au Naturel
by Allen Barlowe   

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Publisher:  Llumina Press ISBN-10:  1605945072 Type: 


Copyright:  August 27, 2010 ISBN-13:  9781605945071

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Even without clothes on, nudists have secrets. Murder Au Naturel features Lee Spinacci, who has retired with his wife to an upscale nudist resort in Florida. Surrounded by a new community of people whose lives he is just beginning to understand, Lee discovers that things may not be what they seem. When he accidentally bumps into a dead body in the hot tub late one Saturday night, his life takes a new twist and sets him off on an adventure that includes his comely neighbor, a grumpy old police officer and a new outlook on life.

Lee and Barbara Spinacci have recently retired to Xanadunes, an upscale nudist enclave in central Florida.  Their naked neighbors blend into a community where, at first glance, it isn't so easy to distinguish who is a secretary, who is a wealthy executive, who is a fireman or a teacher -- and who is a murderer.

At Xanadunes, Lee and Barbara also discover that some of their neighbors are decidedly kinkier than they had originally seemed.  It's hard to tell who is dropping by for a friendly cup of tea, and who may be looking for a steamier encounter.  To complicate matters, someone is behind a rash of wild parties in the community, where the socializing gets a lot hotter and heavier than just sharing a beer and a dance.

When Lee accidentally bumps into a dead body in the hot tub late one Saturday night, all these forces come together and start him on a quest to find out what's going on around him.  Along the way, his libido gets a burst of rejuvenation and tests the strength of his marriage.  He develops a newfound interest in sleuthing and encounters a cast of offbeat characters, including a curmudgeonly state police officer and a sexy young female neighbor -- who conceal as much as they reveal.

Professional Reviews

ForeWord Reviews: Shoe Leather, Stakeouts, and Luck: Mystery Writing Without the High-Tech Razzle Dazzle
Allen Barlowe deserves a forest of upturned thumbs for daring to set his Murder Au Naturel (Llumina Press, 978-1-60594-507-1) in an upscale Florida nudist colony. After all, how much can one conceal while walking around naked? Former New York advertising executive Lee Spinacci and his wife Barbara have settled in as year-round residents at the cleverly named Xanadunes resort. Late one evening, Spinacci goes for a dip in the communal hot tub and discovers a corpse in the water. It’s not clear at first if the death is an accidental drowning or a murder. Whatever it is, Spinacci is quickly involved, chiefly through his being grilled by a dyspeptic local cop who’s pretty certain that everyone who dwells in this sybaritic outpost must be guilty of something. Complicating matters is Spinacci’s growing obsession—partly avuncular, substantially carnal—with his beautiful young neighbor, Ramona. What’s bothering her? Has she been participating in the orgies rumored to be taking place on the premises? Do they pose a danger to her? Spinacci embarks on his own investigation—and at considerable personal peril. Barlowe is detailed in his descriptions of the nudists and their sexual proclivities without crossing the line into pornography. But he comes delightfully close at times.
-- Edward Morris

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