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BOTTLED SPIDER

John Gardner, Author
John Gardner, Author . Severn $26.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-7278-5829-0
Reviewed on: 07/29/2002
Release date: 02/01/2002
Hardcover - 512 pages - 978-0-7278-7200-5
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7531-3646-1
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In this first of a new historical series, prolific British veteran Gardner (License Renewed and 15 other James Bond novels; The Liquidator and seven other Boysie Oakes novels; etc.) offers two books in one: the first, a poignant and spellbinding memoir of London during the Blitz; the second, a routine and plodding police procedural. Despite seemingly insurmountable male opposition, Woman Police Constable Suzie Montford is promoted to detective sergeant when the military draft creates a shortage of male police officers. The serious-minded Suzie doesn't get much chance to prove herself professionally before being matched with DCS Tommy "Dandy Tom" Livermore. Tommy is "an anomaly, a rarity, seen only once in a generation: a gentleman detective." Oh my, someone call central casting at once. See if Bill and Myrna are still available. The two are faced with a series of murders of young women, including a popular BBC announcer, strangled with piano wire, the handiwork of Golly Goldfinch, a grotesquely ugly man-child who obeys voices that order him to kill. He may appear simpleminded, but he is a dangerous quarry. Unfortunately, Golly is more pathetic than frightening and never believable. The best parts of the book describe WWII London and are very fine indeed. (Sept.)

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