Eileen Meredith, the blonde beauty of the summer. A young woman to die for? No, a young woman to be murdered.
A group of young men rents downstairs while a group of young women rents upstairs in a New Jersey beach house for the summer of 1971. One of the girls, Eileen Meredith, is found murdered in her bedroom at the house. Local Detective Hanahan, on the verge of retirement and needing a murder case like he needs a hole in the head, takes over the case. Things ebb and flow as suspects arise and excite the detective's interest. At last, with the help of one of the house's inhabitants, a strange plan takes shape to draw out the murderer. Will it succeed?
“You here that?” Margie asked softly.
It came again, louder. Everyone sat up straighter.
“Now what?” Cliff said. He stood up and walked toward the back of the house.
“Where are you going?” I asked.
“Something’s going on. I’ll check,” he said and left.
“Whose voice?” Stella asked sleepily. “Willy?”
“I think so. I couldn’t really tell,” I answered.
“You go, too,” Stella suggested.
“Cliff already went.”
“Go, please,” she insisted.
I sighed and got up. I climbed the stairs and passed through the porch and corridor between the first two bedrooms.When I entered the living room, I saw both Willy and Cliff in the far hallway standing in front of Eileen’s bedroom door, odd looks on their faces.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“We can’t get Eileen’s door open,” Cliff replied.
“Knock,” I said.
“I did knock.”
Cliff banged on the door. “Eileen.”
Stella, Margie, and Mickey came into the living room.
Cliff banged on the door and called Eileen’s name.
“Eileen’s door won’t open,” I said to Stella.
“Is she in there? Where’s the key?”
Margie pointed. “Her shoes. She must be in there.”
“I’m going to break this door down i s he doesn’t answer,” Cliff said. He smashed his shoulder against the door. “Christ,it’s like iron.”
Elsie stepped out of her bedroom tying her robe around her. “What’s going on?” she asked.
Willy picked up a large metal flowerpot that had stood empty for the summer. He said, “The door’s locked. She mustbe in there.”
“Give me,” Cliff said.
“Don’t break the door,” Stella pleaded. “We’ll have to pay for it.”
Cliff ignored her and lifted the pot high. He smashed the pot into the door. The third attack did the trick. The doorripped away and hung pathetically from its top hinge. Cliff put the planter down, and he and Willy entered the room. The rest of us followed behind, movingaside to make space for one another, but when we grasped the scene in front of us, everyone froze as if we’d entered some kind of alien force field.
Eileen lay naked atop the silky pink sheets she’d brought from home. Her eyes gaped and her mouth hung open.
“Eileen,” Cliff said. “Eileen.” He shook her. “Jesus. Jesus! I think…she’s dead.”