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BLOOD ON THE TONGUE

Stephen Booth, Author
Stephen Booth, Author . Scribner $24 (400p) ISBN 978-0-7432-3618-8
Reviewed on: 10/07/2002
Release date: 10/01/2002
Mass Market Paperbound - 512 pages - 978-0-7434-5783-5
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-1-4165-7529-0
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The overworked police of Edendale (England) face their greatest challenge yet in Booth's outstanding third mystery (after 2001's Dancing with the Virgins). Det. Constable Ben Cooper, young, dedicated, diffident and thoroughly unorthodox, and his supervisor, Det. Sergeant Diane Fry, efficient, ambitious, aggressive and businesslike, are nearly overwhelmed when confronted by a vicious beating of two men that may have been fueled by racial hatreds, an unidentified corpse uncovered by a snowplow, and another corpse found frozen in the hills of the Peak District. A missing infant and a Canadian woman investigating what happened to her grandfather after his Lancaster bomber crashed 57 years before further complicate the absorbing, complex plot. The author examines the Polish community of Edendale, probing its insularity, its customs, passions and pride, and his country characters, like George Malkin of remote Hollow Shaw Farm, leave vivid, lasting impressions. Best of all are the interrelationships, particularly the wonderful tension that thrums the air between Fry and Cooper as respect and admiration war with suspicion and distrust to produce an almost erotic attraction. The early promise of Booth's debut novel, Black Dog, is fully realized here, and new readers should scurry to find his earlier books. (Oct. 22)

FYI: Black Dog won the Barry Award for Best British Crime Novel.

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