Don’t Admit You’re in Assisted Living – First Mystery: The Kiss, by Dorothy Seymour Mills. Blue Water Press LLC. 154 pages. Trade paperback $15.95.
This delightful three-part mystery series by Ms. Mills, who recently turned ninety, provides an insightful and humorous look at senior living communities. The author’s model for the setting, a place she calls Locksley Glen, is her Naples home of The Carlisle. However, she is writing fiction and she means for her exploration of such a community to be representative. Through this book, readers will journey into a world of people “who are past being active physically and whose ability to contribute to modern life is limited by physical decline and encroaching age-connected illness.”
As the novel makes clear, these people, mostly women, are abundantly alive, curious, engaged, and brimming with experiential knowledge. They offer one another vital, shareable experience in a setting made to order for their needs.
When 80-year-old Locksley resident Clarence is spotted accepting a kiss from a young Greek waiter named Petros, the rumor mill starts grinding. Alice, the principal character and the narrator, wonders if this behavior – an elderly man showing sexual interest in a teenage employee – fits into the parameters of normality. What is the revealed relationship all about? What is the mystery behind the kiss?
Some speculation about sexual activity between senior citizens follows, but the question is left up in the air. It seems less and less important as another strange event take over the imaginations of the residents. Someone is stabbed during a Halloween party.
Preparations for the party involve the creation of costumes. A most popular and attractive resident, Starr, borrows some paint from Alice, who is an artist about to have a significant exhibition of her paintings. Starr uses the paint to fashion a cardboard gun and knife as part of her outlaw cowboy costume. Somehow the imitation knife is replaced by a real one – a steak knife stolen from the Locksley Glen kitchen. It ends up being used as a weapon in a real crime against Petros’s father, Tzannis Papadopoulos, who Petros had been trying to prevent from being allowed into the United States. Meanwhile, the cardboard knife is found to have real blood on it. . . .
To read the entire review, as it appears in the September 27, 2018 Naples, Bonita Springs, and Palm Beach editions and the October 3 Fort Myers and Charlotte County editions, click here: Assisted Living