A CASE TO ANSWER
In another finely crafted psychological thriller from British author Yorke (The Price of Guilt, etc.), recently widowed Charlotte Frost has been unceremoniously plucked by her stepson, Felix, from the family estate of White Lodge and ensconced in a lesser property at Number Five, Vicarage Fields. As Felix's marriage nears collapse along with his business interests, Felix's daughter Imogen leaves school and announces herself pregnant. Twin brother Nicholas assumes Imogen's only supporting role, while plans are made to saddle poor Charlotte with caring for the contentious teen. After Charlotte brings Imogen into Vicarage Fields, they both meet Captain Smythe, a charming elderly Navy retiree, who has recently nabbed a burglar in his home. By one of the seemingly incidental actions of Nicholas and Imogen, the burglar's former partner, Jerry, is soon employed by Charlotte and admired by Imogen. Then Imogen disappears from her room one night, and Charlotte foolishly decides to go looking for her alone and on foot. What happens to Charlotte sets the scene for the remainder of the story, in which the policemen of CID exhibit some distinctly odd attitudes. Although a very light mystery, the book is well weighted with superb plotting and in-depth personalities. This is a work of impressive quality in the genteel English tradition, though one would never know it from the murky jacket art of a teenage boy wielding a shovel. (Dec. 28)
FYI:The author is the winner of the 1999 British Crime Writers' Association Cartier Diamond Dagger award.