Tag Archives: Kinley Roby

Classic Naples-based series says adieu with class

Death in the Dark, by Kinley Roby. Privately published. 277 pages. Kindle e-book $2.99.

This is Mr. Roby’s 11th and final Harry Brock Mystery. Though he had planned for it to be the last, an unexpected dilemma must have sullied the closure experience a bit. Accidentally deleting the almost completed text file and its backup from his computer (a cautionary tale, writer friends), he had to laboriously reconstruct his narrative. In the interim, the publisher of the first ten series titles decided to abandon the detective fiction genre, leaving the author with little choice but to self-publish it via Amazon’s Digital Services division.  

The good news is that it is here, but so far only as an e-book. A confessed fan of the series, I found it once again meeting the high bar of the others in most ways. Readers may trip over the typos of one kind or another that haven’t yet been corrected, but there are still so many things to enjoy.

Roby sets the series in a disguised version of Naples and environs. Those familiar with the area will have fun penetrating the place names (such as “Vienna Village”) the author invents for familiar locations, as well his presentation of the cultural environment.

Roby

Harry is still running his PI business, patrolling the patch of government land called Bartram’s Hammock on the edge of the Everglades. He inhabits a small house in exchange for warden duties, and he gets mixed up in cases that also involve local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. And, as in past adventures, beautiful women are omnipresent.

He is still spending time with his older friend and neighbor Tucker. These aging outdoorsmen are still doing a bit of farming. It’s a delight that Kinley Roby allows us to see them tending to pets with whom they carry on conversations. Harry and Tucker are an intelligent, humorous odd couple. Tucker’s niece Delia, temporarily living with her uncle, is one of several attractive women whom Harry admires and with whom a relationship almost blooms.

Plot? An enormous international trade in stolen art run by cutthroat thieves is leaving a trail of bodies and threatens to leave more if Harry and the law enforcement officials can’t put a stop to the menace. Some of those involved in this illicit industry are on the edge of cooperating with the authorities to save their own lives and perhaps some of their filthy lucre. The ins and outs of the complex schemes that all sides are hatching create the intellectual stimulation that Kinley Roby’s novels always deliver.

The dialogue between Harry and his friends in uniform captures the nature of their relationships as well as the ways professionals develop and refine plans designed to take down the criminals. Mr. Roby’s characters are well-delineated by their patterns of speech and other tools of this writer’s trade. . . .

To read the entire review, as it appears in the March 15, 2017 Fort Myers Florida Weekly and the March 16 Naples, Bonita Springs, Punta Gorda / Port Charlotte, and Palm Beach editions, click here: Florida Weekly – Death in the Dark

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Set in Southwest Florida, Harry Brock Mystery rises above the crowd

An Anecdotal Death, by Kinley Roby. Five Star Publishing. 310 pages. Hardcover $25.95.

The tenth “Harry Brock Mystery” finds the game warden turned detective continuing to ply his trade in and near the Southwest Florida town of Avola. The place names Tequesta County and Avola allow Mr. Roby some imaginative space; many readers will quickly identify the setting’s originals as Collier County and Naples. More important than this identification is Mr. Roby’s worshipful perspective on the natural beauty and vulnerability of a patch of Florida wilderness that seems to be receding as the burgeoning town advances. Harry Brock works in both worlds, but he makes his home in a remote, simple dwelling on the edge of the Everglades.  AnAnecdotalDeathFront

The beautiful and wealthy Meredith Winters has summoned Harry to discover whether or not her missing husband, Amos Lansbury, is alive or dead. While the Coast Guard had rendered the verdict that Lansbury had died in a diving accident during a fishing expedition with several friends, no corpse has been discovered. Meredith has a feeling that Amos was murdered.

Touching base with his friends in the sheriff’s department, Harry worries about their reluctance to open an investigation. It soon becomes clear that political concerns are at work. When two more of Lansbury’s diving buddies turn up dead, it is hard to call the pattern a mere coincidence, especially since the common dominator seems to be that all worked in a very rough political campaign for a seat in the state senate. When a fourth campaign worker, not part of the diving activity, is found dead – the question becomes: who suffered so mightily from the outcome of the senate race that he (or she) has a serial score to settle.

Soon enough, Harry is nearly a victim, suggesting that the killer finds Harry too close to figuring things out.

As the investigation moves along, Harry’s personal life becomes just as much a center of interest as his professional one. He is meeting many divorced and widowed women in the course of the investigation, women connected with the victims in one way or another. Author Roby goes a bit overboard in describing each one, as well as Meredith and her secretary, as a surprisingly beautiful specimen of femininity. Or is that perception only Harry’s, a consequence of his own situation, appetites, and tendency to idealize?

Roby

Roby

Harry’s two failed marriages, and his impasse with his present love, have left him lonely and longing. Meredith throws herself at him, and there is plenty of flirtation in his sequence of investigatory interviews. Hey, whatever Harry’s got, I want some.

His emotional state is also colored by the growing fragility of his best friend and mentor, Tucker Labeau, whose residence on Bartram’s Hammock, a state nature preserve, is near Harry’s. The winding waterway named Puc Puggy Creek is for Harry something like Thoreau’s Walden Pond and its surrounding woods: a place to get back to basics. The profound friendship between the two men is based in part on their deep mutual respect for the natural world and a desire for self-reliance. . . .

To read the entire review, as it appears in the April 9, 2015 Naples Florida Weekly and also the Punta Gord/Port Charlotte edition, click here: Florida Weeky – Anecdotal Death.

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Missing person, stolen art darken Florida’s sunshine

“The Birds of Winter,” by Kinley Roby. Five Star. 378 pages. $25.95.

It’s such a pleasure to settle in with a complex mystery tale by an author whose arresting characters are fully developed, whose pacing of action is superb, and whose settings are not only well chosen, but also colored and shaded with a painter’s eye. This latest entry in the Harry Brock Mystery series has all those features. Moreover, for denizens and fans of Southwest Florida, it doesn’t hurt that the setting is a mildly disguised version of Naples, along with its eastern transition into Everglades territory.  BirdsOfWinterFront

A local big-shot lawyer has put Harry in touch with a wealthy, cantankerous fellow named Gregory Breckenridge who has a big problem: his wife has vanished. He needs to find her, but he hasn’t gone to the sheriff’s office because he’s afraid that any scandal will undermine his hedge fund empire. Harry asks ordinary, sensible questions about the circumstances preceding Afton’s disappearance and about their relationship, but the contemptible bully is reluctant to answer them. Harry takes the case, and he soon engages experienced skip-tracer Caedmon Rivers to hunt Afton Breckenridge down.

Caedmon is a gorgeous woman. Harry falls in love with her, and the heat is mutual – if not the deep adoration. It’s a problem.

Another criminal matter gets tangled up with the question of Afton’s disappearance. There is strong suspicion that socialites Peter and Gwen Oglevie have been smuggling and selling stolen paintings. An employee who chanced to see something potentially incriminating is found dead soon after. The woman pastor to whom this worker had turned for advice now turns to Harry. The tangle? Gwen and Afton have been good friends. Is the art smuggling connected to Afton’s disappearance? How?

It soon becomes evident that searching for Afton Breckenridge is not healthy. Caedmon is almost killed by two professional assassins. Her physical recuperation goes well, but as the victim of such a terrible attack, which included violent rape, she is a psychological eggshell. She is simply not the same person she was before the attack, and Harry – though he tries in every way to be supportive – is simply not equipped to deal with her psychic pain.

Kinley Roby by Nick Shirghio

Kinley Roby by Nick Shirghio

Are they after her because she is close to finding Afton? Are these same people after Afton? Are the Oglevies behind it all? Is Afton even alive? If she is dead, who is manipulating her bank accounts? These questions are what Harry, now working in concert with local law enforcement and the district attorney’s office, must find out. . . .

To read the entire review, as it appears in the January 30, 2013 issue of the Fort Myers Florida Weekly, and the Naples and Bonita Springs editions for January 31 click here: Florida Weekly – K.Roby

See also: Kinley Roby pdf

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Kinley Roby’s Other Naples

When retired English professor Kinley Roby and his wife, gothic romance author Mary Linn Roby, were living at the St. Pierre in Pelican Bay, few knew that Mr. Roby was storing up local landscapes and local color for a series of mystery novels. Thirteen years in Naples, beginning in 1994, gave him a lot of images to transform imaginatively. He began working on what became his first novel in 2001, publishing “Death in a Hammock” two years later.  Kinley R by Nick Shirghio

Since then, Mr. Roby’s Harry Brock Mysteries have gained a loyal readership and critical acclaim.

“Death’s Other Kingdom,” the fifth and latest in the series, should please Harry Brock followers and win Mr. Roby new fans. It tells a fascinating story of human trafficking as well as subsidiary stories of abiding friendships and chaotic family dynamics. The characters are superbly drawn, and Mr. Roby’s version of the Naples area is not one we are used to associating with this opulent town.

To read the full article as it appears in the September 24-30, 2009 issue of Naples Florida Weekly, click here:  Florida Weekly – Kinley Roby

See also: https://philjason.wordpress.com/2009/01/26/something-about-mary-linn-roby/

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