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The Perfect Couple


The Perfect Couple

Elin Hilderbrand’s THE PERFECT COUPLE is a fantastic and clever whodunit that keeps readers in suspense throughout the entire book.

Celeste Otis and Benji Winbury’s beautiful and lavish wedding is about to take place at Benji’s parents’ oceanfront estate on Nantucket, which is known as Summerland. His parents --- Tag, the owner of a hedge fund, and Greer, a famous mystery novelist --- spare no expense for the extravagant and posh wedding. Greer is also 100% in charge of it. However, due to very unfortunate circumstances, a terrible mishap and tragedy occur, and the wedding is canceled hours before the ceremony. The body of the maid of honor, Merritt Monaco, is discovered in Nantucket Harbor, and everyone in the wedding party is a suspect. It’s up to Chief of Police Ed Kapenash and Detective Nicholas Diamantopoulos, known as “Nick the Greek,” to interview everyone and solve the mystery.

Hilderbrand is at her best alternating between characters and timelines and their backgrounds as the Chief and Nick the Greek figure out piece by piece the identity of the culprit. What everyone on Nantucket deems to be the perfect marriage simply isn’t. Celeste comes from a humble background, having grown up in Pennsylvania. She now lives in Manhattan and is the assistant director at the Bronx Zoo. Her parents, Bruce and Karen, are hard-working middle-class individuals; sadly, Karen has stage 4 breast cancer. Their relationship plays an important role in the story, starting from the moment they met as teenagers until the present.

"Hilderbrand’s imagination and ability to craft so many characters and storylines keep the novel riveting. There is abundant detail with plenty of twists and turns as the plot gets thicker and thicker and you hunger for more."

Benji, meanwhile, has lived a privileged life growing up in London and currently works for Nomura Securities, a Japanese bank with headquarters in New York. Shooter Uxley is Benji’s best man and childhood friend who has envied Benji ever since they were kids. Despite Benji’s upbringing, his family has its own dysfunctions. Greer has long suspected that Tag has been unfaithful with his childhood friend, Featherleigh. She has “never found hard evidence of any indiscretions, but she has certainly had her suspicions.” Even though Tag’s fidelity is in question, Greer has the upper hand in the marriage as “the majority of her wealth comes from her family who owned the mills that produced over half the gin in Great Britain,” and Tag feels inferior to her. Maid of honor Merritt is quite taken with Tag, adding a new layer of indiscretion to the already compelling plot.

As the Chief and Nick the Greek interview each suspect, we learn that there is no perfect couple. Every marriage in this story has some type of dysfunction. As my grandmother always said, “True love never runs smooth,” and that is especially true in THE PERFECT COUPLE.

Hilderbrand’s imagination and ability to craft so many characters and storylines keep the novel riveting. There is abundant detail with plenty of twists and turns as the plot gets thicker and thicker and you hunger for more. I kept wondering who the murderer could possibly be, but my suspicions kept changing! At the same time, I enjoyed unraveling the mysteries of each marriage --- every character is given equal weight, adding more flavor to the story, which kept me glued to the book. This is Hilderbrand’s first murder mystery, and she clearly has a knack for suspenseful writing and knows how to capture her readers to lure them in.

It also wouldn’t be an Elin Hilderbrand novel without getting the flavor of what it’s like living on Nantucket. You’ll take a ferry ride in your mind and feel the breeze on your face. You’ll visit the beaches and long to be on one, and you’ll visit her favorite hot spots and restaurants, like the Chicken Box. Her food descriptions make readers hungry, and your palate is ready to taste what she’s describing. The Winbury estate, Summerland, was especially fascinating as she made it sound like they lived in a palace.

Hilderbrand’s books keep getting better and better as they’re well thought out and meticulously written. They are definite page-turners with substance, and her descriptions are so expressive. Get your cup of coffee, glass of wine or beach chair and hunker down as her novels reel you in. Hilderbrand reigns the summer season, and I look forward to each and every one of her books.

Reviewed by Vivian Payton on June 22, 2018

The Perfect Couple
by Elin Hilderbrand

  • Publication Date: February 12, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Women's Fiction
  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books
  • ISBN-10: 031637525X
  • ISBN-13: 9780316375252