The Malcontenta: A Kathy Lolla and David Brock Mystery

Barry Maitland, Author Arcade Publishing $24.95 (352p) ISBN 978-1-55970-527-1
The Malcontenta, an 18th-century mansion near Rochester in Kent, forms the backdrop for another superior mystery from Creasy Award nominee Maitland (The Marx Sisters). Det. Sergeant Kathy Kolla goes to Stanhope Naturopathic Clinic, the spa that now occupies the Malcontenta, to investigate the reported suicide by hanging of Greek physiotherapist Alex Petrou. When both the spa's director, Dr. Stephen Beamish-Newell, and Kathy's boss, DI Ric Tanner, prove uncooperative if not hostile, Kathy seeks help from her old partner, DCI David Brock. Posing as a desk-bound civil servant, Brock books in at the spa, where he uncovers a profitable secret enterprise behind the naturopathy. In addition, he learns that Petrou was into sex, drugs and blackmail. Brock's questions lead to a second killing, clearly murder this time, but his lack of discipline gets him kicked off the case. Kathy and Brock find they must pursue the truth in Rome, Orvieto, Vicenza and ultimately the original site for the Malcontenta, a villa located south of Venice. A Scot raised in London who teaches architecture at an Australian university, Maitland is particularly good at describing old buildings and the drab English weather. This is only the second of five Kathy and Brock mysteries to be published in the U.S. With any luck the rest of this literate series will soon become available here. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2000
Release date: 08/01/2000
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