Twilight Whispers

by Barbara Delinsky

Barbara Delinsky started her career writing romances. TWILIGHT
WHISPERS is a reissue of her first mainstream novel, which
originally was published in 1987. As far as this reviewer is
concerned, her first foray into mainstream fiction was a success
and led the way to other books that showed her craft as a

The story opens with the funeral of Mark Whyte and his wife,
Deborah Warren. The two had been found on a boat, shot to death,
and the press is labeling it as a murder/suicide. Investigator
Robert Cavanaugh, however, is at the funeral looking for clues that
may lead to what really happened on that boat. Taking photos and
watching the individual members of both families in attendance at
the funeral, the story initially takes Cavanaugh's point of view,
but eventually changes voices, alternating among some of the other
main characters.

The press is going hog wild over this case, due to the fact that
the Whytes and the Warrens are two very wealthy and powerful
families. In some ways they resemble the Kennedys, with the
patriarchs of each family being very strong and powerful men in
their own right, while their children are following in their
footsteps in one way or another. The double murders signal a
downturn in the fortunes of these two families, and there are those
who are glad to see this happen. Both men have hurt plenty of
people during their rise to the top.

At the funeral are the three families that are connected to Mark
and Deborah. The heads of the Whyte family, Jackson Whyte, and his
wife Natalie are there with their adult children. So are the heads
of the Warren family, Senator Gil Warren and his wife Lenore and
their children. Cassie Morrell, who had been in charge of the
Warren household for decades, and her daughter Katia represent the
third family.

Katia, thirty years old, is the youngest of the children who lived
on the Whyte-Warren estates, and was raised with the Whyte and
Warren children, even though she was born to the hired help.
Cavanaugh also notices that she seems to have a special
relationship with one of the Whyte siblings, Jordan Whyte, who at
the age of 39 is showing that he is following in his father's
footsteps in more ways than one. With the help of his boss, John
Ryan, Cavanaugh has a huge file of newspaper clippings and other
journalistic articles that will aide him in the search for the
answers to this murder mystery. Cavanaugh becomes obsessed with
their history, living and breathing the case until it begins to
disrupt his personal life.

While the book starts off as a murder mystery, the bulk of this
story is the history behind the three families. Victims of the
Depression, both Natalie and Lenore grew up without much, but
somehow find their futures with Gilbert Warren and Jackson Whyte,
two men who were best friends and were going to move up fast in the
world. Cassie finds that her life changes when she is hired by the
Warrens to run their household. She eventually marries, and now her
family is intertwined with the close-knit Whytes and Warrens.

Delinsky moves the story along at a fast pace, delving into family
secrets and relationships that are slowly revealed to the reader.
There IS closure to the murder mystery, which this reviewer felt
was settled a bit too quickly. But in reading a Delinsky novel, the
ending is not always necessarily the most important aspect of the
book. The many characters that fill the pages and make the story
come alive are really what drive her novels. Delinsky's biggest
talent is creating characters who are lifelike, three-dimensional
figures who one can imagine in their heads. They are real people,
not made-up caricatures that one often finds in novels.

TWILIGHT WHISPERS is, above all else, a family saga with a romance
built in and the added excitement of a murder mystery that the
reader will want to solve. The fact that this book was first
published in 1987 doesn't seem to make a difference in the
enjoyment of the story today; it does indeed stand the test of
time. This reviewer highly recommends TWILIGHT WHISPERS.

Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton ( on January 24, 2011

Twilight Whispers
by Barbara Delinsky

  • Publication Date: January 6, 2005
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 0446523984
  • ISBN-13: 9780446523981