Malice in London

Graham Thomas, Author
Graham Thomas, Author Fawcett Books $6.5 (240p) ISBN 978-0-8041-1840-8
Reviewed on: 04/03/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
Hardcover - 280 pages - 978-0-7089-4659-6
Prebound-Sewn - 978-1-4177-2338-6
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A lone woman is walking through the dense fog on the banks of the Thames, searching for her lost dog, when she spies an arm briefly thrust out of the murky water, only to instantly vanish beneath the surface. So opens Thomas's fourth installation (after Malice on the Moors) of his Erskine Powell series, which engages the reader from one episode to the next. Chief Superintendent Powell's latest case involves the death of politician Richard Brighton, the body seen earlier in the Thames. After dismissing the possibility of a mugging gone bad, Powell and company begin digging up evidence that would provide a murder motive. Brighton's stance on the ""Dockside project"" had its opponents: he saw the so-called ""gentrification"" plan as a way to develop a run-down warehouse neighborhood, while adversaries felt it a ruthless crusade to evict tenants. The plot thickens when restaurant critic Clive Morton is found dead in an alley, an apple stuffed in his mouth. Fortunately, finding a link between the killings is a challenge equal to Powell's careful, slightly unorthodox sleuthing. Thomas's characters are classically British, as delightfully demonstrated by Detective-Sergeant Sarah Evans's arcane remarks and pub owner Celia Cross's Cockney accent, and the story moves quickly and succinctly. Despite the muddy side plot of a missing girl, this whodunit is crisp and witty, and should satisfy any cravings for intrigue la Scotland Yard. (Apr.)
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