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Chaos at the Concours: A Thomas Ballard Mystery - Book Review

Chaos at the Concours: A Thomas Ballard Mystery


Author: D.G. Stern
Genre: Fiction - Mystery - General
Date Published: October 1, 2018
ISBN-10: 0990610373
ISBN-13: 9780990610373

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Book Review of :  Chaos at the Concours: A Thomas Ballard Mystery



Chaos at the Concours by D.G. Stern is a murder mystery featuring Thomas Ballard and his lady friend, detective Olivia Nederfield. They have been invited to attend the 35th annual Concours d’Elegance at the Indian Whisper Golf Course on Little Loggerhead Island. There will be 600 beautifully preserved vehicles from the past at the gala Georgia event. It is a celebration of the very best vintage automobiles and is attended by thousands of motor vehicle aficionados.

Thomas Ballard is a writer...who doubles as a member of the law enforcement community. He pens articles about races, cars and their drivers. This exciting best-of-the-best auto extravaganza was supposed to be a relaxing escape for him and Olivia, but it quickly turned into something tainted with murder.

On their first night on the island they were invited to Hans and Margarite Leiter’s 50th wedding anniversary celebration. Leaving the party. illuminated by the moon, Ballard and Nederfield discover a beautiful Red Mercedes sitting on a golf course which turns out to be much more than an entry into the auto show; it’s also a murder scene or is it the scene of two murders?  Stern writes, “We approach the sleeping figure quickly, but quietly. I feel Olivia reach into her pocketbook and retrieve the afore-mentioned revolver.  A precaution – no doubt, but totally unnecessary because the figure leaning against the Mercedes is obviously dead. I check for a pulse – nothing. I check for an obvious injury – also nothing. I don’t have to worry about identifying the body; it is the character from central casting, with his cane resting across his legs.”

Unfortunately for those responsible for the murder, classic vintage automobile aficionados also include an eclectic collection of law enforcement personnel.  Little Loggerhead Island Chief of Police, Ben Holloway, an old acquaintance of Olivia’s is in attendance at the Concours d’Elegance, and the three of them start an investigation at the scene of the crime where the body was discovered. Who is the killer?  The event is attended by car collectors and car lovers from all over the world. A lot of suspects are on Little Loggerhead Island, and somehow the killer has to be rooted out of the milling mass in attendance.

At first, there are no apparent witnesses, nor any useful evidence. Gradually, the sleuths quietly engage various visitors of the event that might have been near the crime scene. Minor clues begin to surface, which might lead Thomas Ballard and his law enforcement friends to a suspect or multiple suspects.

D. G. Stern masterfully shares with the reader the complicated inner workings of Ballard's thinking, revealing how he determined the motives for the murders and the evidence that led to a conclusion of what happened. It is obvious that Stern is a lover of vintage vehicles; he even has Ballard often residing in a vintage 1955 Airstream Flying Cloud travel trailer.

There is a Columbian connection discovered, could drugs be the motive? There is frustration about the murderer still being at large among the huge crowds that have ascended onto Indian Whisper Golf Course. But with the enlistment of his vast resources, the pool of suspects become a lot shallower.  Chaos at the Concours is fast-paced, exciting, and full of D. G. Stern’s red herrings.  If you like murder mysteries, you will appreciate Stern’s work. This murder mystery is his second installment to the Thomas Ballard Mystery series. The first was Stabbing Along the Straightaway (a finalist for the Royal Palm Literary Award).


About D.G. Stern


D.G. Stern has authored the award-winning Upton Charles - Dog Detective' series for younger readers (www.uptoncharles.com), The Loneliest Tree and 25 Days of a Tropical Christmas and soon to be released Sophie the Skunk and Francis the Firehouse Mouse. In addition, he has written four adult mysteries, Hot Tea & Cold Case, There's Always Tomorrow, Stabbing Along the Straightaway and Chaos at The Concours, as well as numerous screenplays. His taste for good wine and great food has been an inspiration in his writings and Mr. Stern is also the editor of Golf a la Carte (www.golfcookbook.com) with a forward by golf legend Arnold Palmer. D.G. Stern is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. In addition to vintage car racing, basket weaving (no kidding) fills any empty moments.





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